Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Transgender student teaches school district $75,000 lesson in fairness

Let this story from Maine be a lesson to all schools across America. Treat our transgender children fairly or (oh Lord hammercy!) you're going to pay:

A final order has been issued in a transgender student’s lawsuit against the Orono School Department over the denial of her access to the girl’s bathroom in grade school and middle school.

The Penobscot County Superior Court order, dated Nov. 25, enjoined the school department from discriminating against other students as it did against Nicole Maines, 17, who lives and attends private school in Cumberland County.

The court also awarded $75,000 to the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston, which represented the girl and her parents.

“A significant portion of the monetary award will go to the Maines’ family,” Carisa Cunningham, spokeswoman for GLAD, said Monday. She declined to say exactly how much the organization would retain and how much would go to the family.

 . . . In November 2012, Superior Court Justice William Anderson ruled in the school district’s favor. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court reversed that ruling in a 5-1 decision in January of this year.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Judicial Court has given us clear guidance on how to handle the issue,” Melissa Hewey, the Portland attorney who represents the district, said Monday in an email. “We understand that the student is thriving at her current school and wish her and her family only the best.”

 . . . The incident that sparked the court case began in 2007 when a child, who was born male but identifies as female, was forced to stop using the girls bathroom at the Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono. She was told to use a staff bathroom after the grandfather of a male student complained.
During the past five years, Nicole Maines and her family have been honored by GLAD and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. Last month, Glamour magazine named Nicole Maines one of 50 “hometown heroes” — one woman from each state that the magazine honored for making a difference in America.

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