A mother in Maine has filed a federal lawsuit against public school officials for coaching her 13-year-old daughter to become a boy without parental consent.
Amber Lavigne alleges in the suit that Samuel Roy, an 8th grade counselor at Great Salt Bay Community School, secretly advised her daughter on changing genders and gave her a binder to flatten her chest during a fall counseling session.
The complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Maine says the school violated Ms. Lavigne’s constitutional rights by not informing her of a transgender support plan to treat her daughter as male on campus.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held over the past century that one of the rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment is the right of parents to control and direct the care, custody, education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions, etc., of their children — a right the Court has characterized as fundamental,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit names Mr. Roy and other educators as defendants. It seeks to overturn the school’s policy of hiding student gender transitions from unsupportive parents and calling students by different gender pronouns on campus.
It also seeks an unspecified amount in damages to recoup the family’s costs for removing the girl from school. Ms. Lavigne said she did so after discovering the binder while cleaning her daughter’s room on Dec. 2 and confronting school officials, who refused her demand to fire Mr. Roy.
Officials at Great Salt Bay Community School, located in Damariscotta, Maine, did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment. Attempts to reach Mr. Roy were unsuccessful.
But school officials noted in public statements dated Dec. 19 and Jan. 14 — both included in court documents — that Great Bay has a legal duty to support transgender students.
Samuel Belknap, chairman of the Great Salt Bay Consolidated School District, said in the first statement that the school’s policies and procedures “comply with Maine law, which protects the rights of all students and staff, regardless of gender/gender identity, to have equal access to education, the supports and services available in our public schools, and the student’s right to privacy regardless of age.”
Transgender students guidelines that Great Bay adopted in 2019 specify that teachers must allow children to use opposite-sex pronouns, names, restrooms, clothing and locker rooms while on campus.
“To the extent that the school is not required to use a student’s legal name or gender on school records or other documents, the school should use the name and gender identified in the student’s plan,” state the guidelines, also included in court documents.
The suit comes as public school systems have increasingly implemented policies letting staff and teachers coach children on their sexuality without telling parents.
In Virginia, six Christian parents and teachers sued the Harrisonburg City Public Schools last June over a policy that requires educators to hide students’ pronouns and transitions from unsupportive parents.
In Maryland, U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm in August halted a lawsuit that several parents filed against a similar policy in Montgomery County Public Schools, citing a “compelling interest” to protect trans kids from parental abuse.
Attorneys from the Goldwater Institute, a conservative free-market public policy research and litigation group, are representing Ms. Lavigne in the Maine lawsuit.
“I deserve to know what’s happening to my child — the secrecy needs to stop,” Ms. Lavigne said Wednesday.