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Mar 19, 2013 12:26 AM by Tony Spehar -

School district responds to claim of discrimination against transgender child

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 has responded to a complaint sent to the Colorado Civil Rights Division by the parents of Coy Mathis, 6, a transgendered child who wasn't allowed to use a girl's bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School.

The district declined to comment on their response, in previous statements the district has told News 5 they intend to make their case in court and not publicly. However, attorney's for the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), which is representing the Mathis family, described it.

"In their response the school district takes the position that it is unclear what was legally required of it with respect to Coy and the use of bathrooms," explained Michael Silverman, Executive Director of TLDEF.

But Silverman claims Colorado laws makes it clear that Coy should have been allowed to use the girl's bathroom.

"They state that all covered entities shall allow individuals to use the gender segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity," he explained.

Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, Coy's parents, filed their complaint in February. They received a storm of media coverage that took their story nationwide.

"It was busy but it was actually really wonderful because we got a lot of letters and messages of support from people," described Kathryn Mathis.

There was also sharp criticism.

"You know people can say 'oh you should have forced her to try and be a boy,' and they don't know that we didn't," she explained. "We did try to tell her you're a boy, here's boy's clothes and that just made everything worse."

Coy was born a boy but identified as a girl around the age of three. For some time school staff had allowed Mathis to use the girl's room but the district changed it's policy. Since then Coy has been home schooled.

"It's good she doesn't think I'm a very good teacher, but we've been keeping her education up to where it needs to be," Mathis described.

But, Kathryn Mathis and Michael Silverman are pushing for the case to be resolved in their favor quickly so Coy can return to school.

"The best place for Coy is to be in school," said Mathis.

Silverman said TLDEF will file it's response within the next couple of weeks. After that the Colorado Civil Rights Division will either make a decision based on both side's arguments or launch their own investigation.


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