ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A judge has ruled in favor of the Orono School District in a case involving a transgender student.
In 2009, the child's family filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Their daughter was born male, but lives her life as a female, and in 2007 another student started bullying her for using the girls' bathroom. The school addressed the issue by having the student use a separate, unisex bathroom. The Human Rights Commission ruled that was discrimination. But Tuesday, a judge disagreed, ruling that the school did not act with deliberate indifference. It's a disappointing outcome for the student's family, who has spent the last three years doing everything they can to give their daughter a normal life.
RSU 26 attorney Melissa Hewey says the school was doing everything in its power to help the child, and meet the needs of the other children at the school. She is happy the judge agreed.
"That's the part of the decision that my clients and I are particularly pleased about," Hewey said. "Because from our perspective the school went above and beyond to try to help this child and to try to help the family, and to be accused of doing something less was really hard on my clients, and it was really a good feeling to have the judge vindicate them."
The student's father, Wayne Maines, says he knows the school wasn't doing enough, because his daughter is now attending a school where she is getting the support she needs.
"She has friends," Maines said. "She's not living in hiding anymore. She has sleepovers, she has a passion for learning again. That's what we want. That's what every parent wants."
The family's attorney will appeal the decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.