Goff Junior High School

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A few weeks ago we brought you the story of Hannah Rini, a transgender student in Pawtucket, who was bullied to the point where she left Goff Junior High School before finishing 7th grade. Pawtucket School officials declined to comment before the story aired, and they still say they can't discuss Hannah's story directly because of student privacy rules.

Michelle Rini

Last year, we introduced you to Pawtucket student Hannah Rini, who was about to start her first year of middle school as an openly transgender student. Before her first day at Goff Junior High she was filled with hope about the new friends she would make.  She felt confident because of the way her elementary school friends accepted her when she came out:

“I don’t know how they knew, but they knew I was trans. Maybe the way I was acting? They just weren’t surprised one bit,” Rini said at the time.

John Bender / RIPR

Martin Luther King Jr. Day may mean a day off for some, but scores of volunteers spent the day in Pawtucket hard at work.

Volunteers busily taped windows, primed, and painted walls at Goff Junior High School as part of a day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

They were working as a part of a national program that organizes service projects across the country; encouraging people to volunteer on their day off.  Volunteer Megan Kelly, took a break from painting a beige hallway bright yellow.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Transgender issues have been the the news quite a bit lately, following the announcement from Bradley Manning, the army private who leaked documents to WikiLeaks, that she is transgender and will now be living as Chelsea Manning.

Rhode Island Public Radio's education reporter Elisabeth Harrison speaks with All Things Considered Host Dave Fallon about a Pawtucket student she profiled, who has been openly transgender for a year now.  

Hanna Rini, who is 12, started junior high school this week. 

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

It’s back to school season in Rhode Island. There’s an ever so subtle hint of fall in the air and schools around the state are opening their doors again for students after the long summer break.

With the first day of school comes that familiar mix of nerves and excitement. Will my friends be the same?  What new people will I meet? Will I like my teachers? And perhaps no start of school is quite as nerve-wracking as the first day of junior high.