By Kathleen Gilbert

AUGUSTA, Maine, September 28, 2010 ( – The Maine Human Rights Commission (HRC) has ruled that a middle school unlawfully discriminated against a “transgender” sixth-grade boy by disallowing the child from entering a girls' bathroom and instead assigning him his own separate bathroom.

The matter concerned Orono Middle School's treatment of a child whose parents have insisted has a right to use a girl's bathroom, despite being biologically male, because of his chosen gender identity.

“In choosing to disallow [him] to use the girls’ bathroom facilities, the school was implicitly isolating and alienating her (sic) from other students,” the parents wrote, according to local reports. “We determined that we needed to modify our actions to do the best we could to ensure [our child’s] safety.”

The panel also ruled against Asa Adams Elementary School in Orono last year, when the same parents issued a similar complaint over the school's conduct while their child was in the fifth grade, in the 2007-08 school year.

The school contended that officials had adequately accommodated the child, by educating staff and students on the situation, giving the child his own bathroom and locker room, and even arranging frequent meetings with his parents.  “For the most part, she (sic) appeared to be happy and involved in the school community,” officials wrote.

The parents also alleged that the school subjected the boy to a hostile environment due to harassment from other students, a claim rejected by the HRC panel. He has since been removed from the school district.

In a September 20 meeting, the panel announced they would wait until the election of a new state governor before issuing guidelines on how schools ought to accommodate “transgender” students.

See related coverage:

Maine Human Rights Commission Debates ‘Biology-based Bathrooms’