Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

District won't enter mediation in case of transgender girl

CAROL MCGRAW Updated: March 7, 2013 at 12:00 am

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 officials have refused to enter into mediation with the family of a transgender girl who wants to return to school.

Six-year-old Coy Mathis is being home-schooled this semester because she has been denied access to the girls’ bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School.

“It’s disappointing. Our goal is to get her in the environment she needs to be in. We just wanted to sit down and talk to the administrators as adults,” said Coy’s mother Kathryn Mathis.

School district officials did not return phone calls Thursday requesting comment.

New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund attorneys filed a complaint Feb.15 with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, claiming that Coy has been discriminated against. Barring the first-grader from the girls’ bathroom is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment, said the fund’s attorney Michael Silverman.

The district has until March 17 to respond to the commission complaint.

However, in the meantime, mediation was suggested as part of the legal process, and was refused by the district.

“I’m surprised,” Silverman said. “There should always be room to address concerns, but we can’t do that if they won’t speak to us.”

Officials at Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD, a gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, said they have received more than 23,000 signatures in support of Coy on an electronic petition at the website change.org.

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.

In a letter to the defense fund last month, D-8 attorney Kelly Dude said Coy was not denied access to educational services and noted officials will allow her to use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom or the nurse’s bathroom used for sick children.

Kathryn Mathis, said if her daughter is separated from classmates, it is teaching them that it is OK to discriminate. “Coy is not sick, she is not an adult, and she is not a boy."

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

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