A mother has filed a lawsuit against a Maine school district for hiding her 13-year-old daughter’s “gender transition” and providing the child with chest binders.
The mother, Amber Lavigne, alleges that on top of keeping the secret — the school also encouraged the child not to tell her parents.
The lawsuit, filed on Lavigne’s behalf by the Goldwater Institute, accuses the Great Salt Bay Community School Board of violating her constitutionally protected parental rights. In addition to the board, the complaint names several school officials.
According to the Goldwater Institute, Lavigne discovered the chest binder, an undergarment used to flatten breasts and help someone appear to be male, in her child’s belongings in December.
It turned out that the garments were gifted to her daughter by a male social worker, defendant Samuel Roy, who was acting as a school counselor.
“This was no accident: my daughter’s public school counselor deliberately tried to keep me in the dark, encouraging my daughter’s gender transition and encouraging her to hide it from me,” Lavigne said in a statement. “When school officials found out, they actually defended the counselor’s actions, trampling on my constitutional rights at every turn. I deserve to know what’s happening to my child—the secrecy needs to stop.”
Goldwater Institute Staff Attorney Adam Shelton, lead attorney on the case, noted that “the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, over the last century, that parents have a fundamental right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of their children.” He added that “parents cannot meaningfully exercise this right if public schools hide vital information about their children from them—which is exactly what the Great Salt Bay Community School did to Ms. Lavigne.”
The district has continued to defend Roy, and it appears the district still employs him.
In February, the Goldwater Institute demanded the school board investigate Roy’s actions and called for a policy requiring schools to inform parents of “any decision that affects their children’s mental health or physical well-being.” However, the school board refused to engage with them and continued to release statements claiming their policies and laws were followed by the social worker.
Lavigne is seeking nominal damages in the amount of $1.00 for the violations of her constitutional rights, but wants a “declaratory judgment by the Court that Great Salt Bay Community School’s policy, pattern, and practice of withholding or concealing from parents, information about the child’s psychosexual development, including their asserted gender identity, absent some specific showing of risk to the child, violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
The complaint also asks the judge to issue an injunction preventing the school from calling Lavigne’s children by a different name or pronoun without her consent. She also seeks an award of actual damages to cover the cost of moving the child to another school, attorney fees, and “such other legal and equitable relief the Court may deem appropriate and just.”