Sage's Law: VA School Transitions Girl Without Telling Guardians, She Ends up a Sex Trafficking Victim in Texas
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One young girl's devastating story is fueling outrage and action in Virginia after she was victimized by sex trafficking predators, aided by a failing system that places transgender ideology ahead of parental rights.
The Virginia House of Delegates K-12 subcommittee voted 5-3 this week to refer Sage's Law to the Committee on Education for final vote. Sage's Law, also known as the Child Protection Act, is sponsored by Delegate Dave LaRock and aims to protect the rights of parents and the safety of children who are dealing with gender confusion.
If enacted, Sage's Law would prohibit schools from encouraging children to hide gender identity changes from their parents. It would provide counseling services to those students who identify as a gender different from their biological sex, and it would make, at a minimum, one of the student's parents aware. If there is a suspected risk of suicide, social services must be contacted by school officials.
The bill stems from a series of horrifying incidents in 2021 in which an Appomattox County High School student named Sage was targeted by sex predators after fleeing from her legal guardians upon their delayed discovery of her gender transition at school.
In her statement given at the January 30th House session, Michele, Sage's grandmother and legal guardian, recalled the mental health concerns her granddaughter endured, including anxiety and depression.
Michele adopted her granddaughter when she was just a baby, after her son had died.
Sage had always been transparent with Michele to ensure her mental treatments could be adjusted as needed. However, Michele said, "that transparency ended in August of 2021 when Sage started high school."
Upon entering her first year at Appomattox High School in Virginia, Sage shared with Michele that "all the girls there were bi-, trans-, lesbian, emo and she wanted to wear boy's clothes and be emo." Michele testified to lawmakers that she saw it as a harmless phase and wasn't worried about it.
However, things had progressed further than Sage expressed to her grandmother. "At school, she had told them she was a boy named Draco with male pronouns," Michele recalled in her statement. She explained that the school was aware of these changes but did not notify her, knowing of the mental health problems Sage was struggling with.
Sage was then bullied by fellow classmates, harassed, threatened with rape, sexually and physically assaulted. As Sage was permitted to use the boys' bathroom at school by her counselor, an incident occurred where Sage was against the wall and harassed by a group of boys. None of the instances were reported by the school to Michele, but rather school staff members continually met with Sage, sending her into a stage of distress.
The situation soon spiraled further out of control. Sage's gender transition had been withheld from her guardians by the school, but her grandmother eventually found out about it after a terrible bathroom bullying incident.
That's when Sage left home to meet a "friend" she connected with online, stating "she was scared of what would happen if she stayed." Authorities began searching for the missing teenager, and Michele said, "I dropped to my knees in prayer."
By then, Sage had already been tricked by online predators who target young children in the process of transitioning sexes. They quickly trapped her and exploited her in sex trafficking.
Nine days passed before the Federal Bureau of Investigation found Sage in Baltimore, Maryland, where they discovered she had been trafficked through D.C. and Maryland, "drugged, gang raped, and brutalized by countless men," Michele recalled.
But just when Michele was hoping to be reunited with Sage, the crisis went from bad to worse.
Michele said that upon arriving in Maryland, they "were summoned by a judge - they never told Sage (they) were coming." It was during this court session that a court-appointed attorney accused Michele and her husband of "emotional and physical abuse" and claimed they were "misgendering" Sage. So the state prevented her loving grandparents from taking their traumatized girl home to heal.
Sage later communicated that she had been housed in the male quarters of a children's home while separated from her parents, that she was the only female housed in this area, and that she was repeatedly assaulted and given street drugs. Michele stated, Anisa Khan, Sage's attorney, told Sage to "lie that we hit her (and) that we didn't want her."
The Federalist reports the Maryland attorney was proven wrong. "Michele is a Virginia Court-Appointed Child Advocate (CASA) with years of experience supporting troubled teens, and she and Roger were quickly cleared of abuse charges," the outlet discovered.
Sage was later found in Texas where she had been drugged, raped, beaten, and exploited yet again. U.S. Marshalls found the girl after Michele was tipped off by Sage's social media about her location. Michele and her husband were fearful they would never see her again.
Currently, Sage is receiving trauma care from licensed professionals and Michele shared that she has "suffered from nightmares, panic attacks, and medical issues." Sage's first trafficker has been sentenced to prison and her family is hopeful that legislation will protect children with gender dysphoria from danger due to information being withheld from their parents regarding their transition.
Meanwhile, The Federalist reports that Sage is now 15 years old, and is coming out of the mental haze that was partly fueled by a failed system that told her who she was while boxing out the people who know her best. "I don't know who I was. I'm a totally different person now. I never was a boy. Everybody was doing it, I just wanted to have friends," Sage now says.
In the conclusion of her statement to Virginia lawmakers, Michele pleaded, "Please don't let ideology harm another child. Let parents do our jobs. We know our children best and love them a million times more."
Sage's Law is being debated by the Virginia House Education Committee on February 3rd. Michele hopes for the bill to advance into law to protect children and families from enduring the same pain and suffering they did.
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