Since being enrolled at Eagle Elementary School in Fountain, Colorado, transgender Coy Mathis has been wearing girls’ clothing and her classmates and teachers have referred to her as a female.
However, in December, school officials told her parents that if she needed to use the toilet she would have to go to the boy’s or nurse’s bathroom.
“We want Coy to have the same educational opportunities as every other Colorado student,” her mother, Kathryn Mathis told ABC.
“Her school should not be singling her out for mistreatment just because she is transgender.”
Kathryn and husband Jeremy contacted the Transgender Legal and Defense Education (TLDEF), and with their help filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on Coy’s behalf saying the school has violated their daughter’s
Coy has been homeschooled since Christmas following the school’s ruling.
“Our eye is focused on getting Coy back into school,” TLDEF’s executive director Michael Silverman told ABC.
“We are hopeful we can resolve this quickly for Coy’s sake.”
A spokesperson for the Fountain school district did not immediately return calls for comment.
Although a letter from the school’s attorney said: “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… It would be far more psychologically damaging and disruptive for the issue to arise at an age when students deal with social issues.”
Meanwhile, Coy’s parents are concerned that the school’s policy could mean that their child could be bullied.
“We have five children and we love them all very much,” said Kathryn. “We want Coy to return to school to be with her teachers, her friends, and her siblings, but we are afraid to send her back until we know that the school is going to treat her fairly. She is still just 6 years old, and we do not want one of our daughter’s earliest experiences to be our community telling her she’s not good enough.”
When Coy was a small child she began complaining about “something wrong” with her body, so her parents took her to a specialist, who diagnosed her with gender identity disorder . The doctor’s advice was to let her “live as a girl.”
Silverman, who is representing the family in the case, said that when they were notified Coy couldn’t use the girls’ facilities, they were not told of any complaints from parents or other students.
“It was a seemingly placid situation at the school,” he said.
The TLDEF wrote a letter to the elementary school asking them to reverse their decision, but they said, “no,” Silverman revealed.
With the decision of the civil right board pending, if an agreement isn’t reached, both sides could appeal to the courts.