District responds to transgender discrimination claim

March 15, 2013
photo - Coy Mathis, 6.  Photo by Photo courtesy of the Mathis family
Coy Mathis, 6. Photo by Photo courtesy of the Mathis family 

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 has responded to a discrimination complaint filed by parents of a transgender child who has been denied access to a girl’s bathroom at her elementary school.

The district filed the legal document with the Colorado Civil Rights Division ahead of a March 17 deadline.

Kelly Dude, an attorney for D-8, said Friday he would not provide details of the response.

“The parents chose this forum and that’s where we are going to have it resolved,” Dude said. “There is no point arguing it in the media.”

The New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Eduation Fund attorneys received a copy of the document from the commission Friday. Officials there said they had not gone through it in detail.

“In their conclusion, they said that the state law was not clear. There is nothing unclear about it,” Michael Silverman, a fund attorney, said of the district’s response.

Fund attorneys filed a complaint Feb.15 with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, claiming the district discriminated against their daughter, Coy. Barring the first-grader from the girls’ bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School targets her for stigma, bullying and harassment, they said.

The parents now have 30 days to respond to district’s filing with the commission.

“We are going to do it quickly because we want Coy to get back in school,” Silverman said.

Six-year-old Coy is being home-schooled this semester. The district has maintained that Coy was not denied access to educational services and officials will allow her to use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom, which is open to children who are ill.

Coy was born a boy, but as soon as she was able to express herself, at around 18 months, she thought of herself as a girl, her parents said.

The state law regarding transgender civil rights was passed by the General Assembly in 2008.

Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371 Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook Carol McGraw

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