District won’t enter mediation with transgender girl banned from bathrooms

Coy Mathis, a first-grader who has been banned from using girls' restrooms at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain. (Photo: Mathis family)

Coy Mathis, a first-grader who has been banned from using girls' restrooms at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain. (Photo: Mathis family)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Lawyers for a 6-year-old transgender girl who was banned from the girls’ bathroom at her elementary school are shocked at the school district refusal to enter into a suggested mediation session with the girl’s family.

Coy Mathis, a first grader who formerly attended Eagleside Elementary School, is now being home schooled. Her parents, Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, filed a complaint against Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on Feb. 15.

The Division suggested the two parties take part in a mediation session ahead of a March 17 deadline, at which point the school district will have to respond to the Mathis’ complaint.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the district refused not only to take part in the mediation but to comment on their decision to do so, as well.

“I’m surprised,” Michael Silverman, a lawyer for the New York-based Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, told the newspaper. “There should always be room to address concerns, but we can’t do that if they won’t speak to us.”

In 2006, Coy Mathis was born a boy, the first of three triplets. But 18 months after her birth, Kathryn and Jeremy said Coy was already self-identifying as a girl. For over a year, she attended Eagleside Elementary as a girl.

This January was the first time the school told her she could no longer use the girls bathroom, the family says.

“They told us our options were to use the nurse’s bathroom, the boy’s bathroom or the staff bathroom,” Kathryn said.

Silverman and the family are calling the school’s decision unacceptable, saying it targets Coy for stigma, bullying and harassment.