June 12, 2013
Today, GLAD represented a transgender girl before Maine’s highest court, arguing that her school had failed in its responsibility to treat her the same as other students.
“I was pleased to present Nicole’s case to the court today, and have been privileged to represent her and get to know her remarkable, strong, and supportive family,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project,following the argument.
“We have a strong case here of a young girl trying to go to school and learn, and the school failing to protect her. I feel confident that we got a fair hearing from the court, and I look forward to their decision.”
As a middle school student in Orono, Maine, Nicole Maines was treated like other girls until a male classmate followed her into a girls’ room.
The school addressed the boy’s bad behavior by focusing on Nicole, forcing her to use a staff bathroom separate from the other girls. Eventually, the parents were forced to withdraw their daughter and her twin brother from the Orono school system and move them to another part of the state where they could go to school quietly and safely.
Nicole also spoke after the argument saying, “I want all transgender kids to be able to go to school and not have to worry about being treated unfairly or bullied. I’ve been very lucky to have a family that’s stood by me and stuck up for me, and I’m really grateful for them.”
The decision in the case, Doe v. Clenchy, is not expected for several months. GLAD Attorneys Jennifer Levi and Ben Klein are representing the daughter along with Lewiston attorney Jodi L. Nofsinger of Berman & Simmons, P.A.