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A Virginia School Board candidate targeted a high school student he thought was transgender in a campaign ad


Virginia School Board candidate, John Kinchen, called out a student he thought was transgender in a video he posted on Facebook.

In the video Kinchen first takes issue with the local high school’s May 2017 yearbook saying the title “it takes all kinds” along with the use of rainbow colors on the cover “evokes some questions.”

Kinchen goes on to express his displeasure in the school highlighting one of its students.

“Several students were given focus for specific talent, ability or achievement, which is normal for any yearbook,” he says in the video. “However on pages 18 and 19 a student was highlighted for staying true to himself. This means wearing makeup and dressing in feminine clothing. By allowing such a piece they have condoned this way of thinking and this lifestyle.”

Kinchen doesn’t identify the student in his video but when Mikel Jenkins saw the post, he knew he had to speak out.

"I like to wear makeup. I identify myself as a male. I'm glad it was me, because I'm accepting of myself and I'm strong.”

His mom says Kinchen’s video is dangerous and his words could have led to a devastating result.

“Say if he would have gone home and killed himself because he couldn’t take the pressure or what was being said,” she told our affiliate WSET.

Mikel says most of the teachers and students have been supportive and come to his defense. "A lot of my teachers and fellow students at the school really stand by me," he said.

But some locals say they agree with Kinchen and support his message.

"Public schools are not a platform to promote any lifestyle,” said local Anna Levan Knowles. “They need to stay away from that."

A national survey done by the Gay Lesbian Student Education Network found that 75 percent of transgender young people feel unsafe at school and according to a 2011 study published in Pediatrics today gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are more than five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

The Campbell County School Board election is tonight.

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