Motions heard in Maine case of transgender child barred from girls bathroom

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A Maine judge will decide whether a lawsuit filed by an Orono family over the school district’s treatment of a transgender child will go forward.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Justice William Anderson heard oral arguments on motions for summary judgments on Sept. 19.

The family and the Maine Human Rights Commission sued the district in November 2009. They are seeking damages, claiming the mother and identical twin boys were forced to move to Portland, Maine, to find a more supportive school environment. The father remained in Orono.

The child’s parents sued over their child’s access to the girls bathroom and the school’s treatment of her. The lawsuit was filed five months after the state commission found the school had discriminated against the girl, who also alleged bullying and harassment.

Defendants in the lawsuit include a former superintendent of the Orono School District and officials at Asa Adams and Orono Middle schools.

The suit claims that the district discriminated against the girl when officials had her use a staff bathroom when she was in the fifth grade and enforced an “eyes-on” policy to monitor her activity in the sixth grade.

The child told the Daily News last year: “An adult would stand 15 feet away from me wherever I went,” she said. “When I would go to the bathroom, they would follow me. When I would go to the lunchroom, they’d follow me. It was like I had an invisible string attached to me and they were on the other end. It was ridiculous.”

A school district lawyer has denied the allegations in the claim.

The case is Doe v. Clenchy.

The child and her family are represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.