No matter how much you look at it, being a middle school student is tough.
Along with balancing school and extracurricular activities, these preteens also have to deal with their emerging hormones and determining their place in society.
But while it can be challenging at times, some students have it harder than others, especially if they don't fit into the status quo.
This rings true with one Virginia student, who faced discrimination after she was allegedly excluded from participating in an active-shooter drill.
"These events occur across our country right now but this one happened here."
Earlier this month, Equality Stafford, a LGBTQ-rights group from Stafford County wrote on Facebook that a transgender girl was was forced to sit alone in her unnamed middle school's bleachers and then in the hallway while her classmates were escorted to the locker rooms.
It's claimed the teachers were unsure what room would be appropriate for her to stay in.
"This past week, an incident occurred during a middle school lock down drill in Stafford County. When the drill began, a particular class of children took shelter in the bathroom/locker room nearest them as they were in PE. One student was prevented from entering either the boys or girls locker room while the teachers discussed where she should go.
The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter. During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different.
After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hall way, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.
Let me be clear. During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable.
These events occur across our country right now but this one happened here."
However, the post also clarified that the student's teachers were not to blame, as they were "without guidance in a county without guidance for these issues. They were following that they were told to do."
"I want you to stop treating me like I am a predator."
Equality Stafford's post quickly garnered national attention when the public caught wind of the school's actions, hundreds of people spoke up in the girl's defense and declared their outrage.
"This is utterly and completely unacceptable. Shame on this shools [sic] administration," one Facebook user wrote.
"If there would have been an actual emergency you would have girls and boys in both locker rooms. No child should be left to feel vulnerable and unwanted. This is just awful."
Another Facebook user chimed in, "When will 'common sense or decency' prevail over ignorance? In an actual (Lord forbid) lock-down crisis, are the teachers/administrators going to sit there and debate over who goes where?"
"This is outrageous totally unacceptable that poor girl already knows she is different to everyone else but isolating her in a time her life should be seen as important regardless how she chooses to identify. She is not an animal and does not cause any harm to anyone just by being in the same room," another person added.
While the unidentified student didn't address the incident herself, the Free Lance-Star reports she wrote a letter that was read aloud at a Stafford School Board meeting this past Tuesday.
"If there was someone armed in my school, I would have been the first one gone," the statement said.
"I felt like an afterthought. If the whole thing wasn’t bad enough, the embarrassment caused me to have a panic attack in front of everyone."
"I want you to stop treating me like I am a predator. It’s time for you to fix this."
"We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed."
Scott Kizner, the superintendent of Stafford Public Schools, also addressed the matter at the meeting and said he had personally apologized to the student.
He and several faculty members also listened to 20 residents who "spoke in support of protections for LGBT students."
"We did not live up to my unwavering expectation that every child and adult—regardless of race, religion, color, disability, gender and sexual orientation—is treated with respect and dignity and for that I apologize to the student, the family and the Stafford community," Kizner said at the meeting.
In a statement, the school board's spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson said that policies, practices and safety procedures will be reviewed.
"Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information," Johnson explained.
"However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect."
"We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS."