There is an interesting case of parents suing the public school in Fountain, Colorado for failing to accommodate their transgender child. These lawsuits have become more common, but in this case the school is the Eagleside Elementary School and the child is just 6 years old. Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis insist that their child, Coy Mathis, was born a boy but identifies as a girl and wants to use the girls’ restroom.
The case raises the question of when a child should be deemed to be transgender. The Mathis’s insist that Coy decided that he was a she before age 6. As the father of four, I am surprised that such a determination could be made at such an early age. The parents say that they were aware of the gender identity since Coy was a baby and, before kindergarten. As a toddler, they say that she indicated that there was “something wrong” with her body and the parents took the pre-schooler to a specialist, who diagnosed gender identity disorder. The specialist told the parents to start dressing Coy as a girl. Since kindergarten, she has dressed as a girl.
The school did accommodate Coy in referring to her with female pronouns and she wears girls’ clothing. However, they asked Coy to use the boys’ restroom, the staff’s restroom or the bathroom in the school nurse’s office.
There is no clear rule on this issue. Just ask the dude from the school district. Wm. Kelly Dude insists that the public schools are not required to allow transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice at any age. That position would put transgender rights squarely before a court. The alternative would be for the school to focus on the fact that this is just a six year old child. The school is also in a jurisdiction with a long history of accommodating gender identity. Boulder’s guidelines specifically address restroom accessibility, stating that “students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school.”
The school district wrote a letter to the parents saying “The district’s decision took into account not only Coy but other students in the building, their parents, and the future impact a boy with male genitals using a girls’ bathroom would have as Coy grew older.”
Given the accommodation on the alternative bathrooms and the age of the student, this could prove an important case in drawing lines for school districts around the country. What do you think?
Source: Denver Post