Damariscotta, ME

Maine Mom Seeks Answers to Why her 13 year old Daughters Public School Kept her Gender Transition a Secret

The Maine Writer

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A school in Damariscotta is dealing with a public controversy after one of the school's parents demanded answers about why they concealed her daughter's gender transition from her. Amber Lavinge is demanding answers from the school after finding a chest binder in her 13-year-old daughter's bedroom in December 2022. Lavinge found out that the school social worker her daughter had been seeing at school had given her the chest binder and had also been advising her on transitioning. The social worker told the daughter that the school wasn't going to tell her parents about the transition and that the daughter also didn't need to tell her parents. Amber said, “This is unacceptable. A school employee secretly encouraged my daughter to change her gender and hide it from me. The school never stopped trying to keep me in the dark at every turn, repeatedly stonewalling me when I tried to find out what was going on. My parental rights aren’t up for debate. I deserve to know what’s happening to my child in school.”

Lavinge spoke at the December 14, 2022, school board meeting and demanded that all school officials who knew about the situation with her daughter be immediately terminated from their positions at the school. At the same meeting, a 4th-grade teacher from the school also spoke during the public comment session to support the school's transgender student policy. Also in attendance at the meeting were members of the public wearing red shirts in support of the school's transgender policy.

Transgender Policy:

The purposes of these guidelines are:

  • 1. To foster a learning environment that is safe, and free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying; and 2. To assist in the educational and social integration of transgender students in our school.
  • For the purposes of these guidelines, a student will be considered transgender if, at school, he/she consistently asserts a gender identity or expression different from the gender assigned at birth. This involves more than a casual declaration of gender identity or expression, but it does not necessarily require a medical diagnosis.


  • 1. Sexual orientation – Sexual orientation is defined in the Maine Human Rights Act as an individual’s “actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression.” This is the only term related to these guidelines which are defined in Maine law.
  • 2. Gender identity – A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth.
  • 3. Gender expression – The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, or mannerisms.
  • 4. Transgender – An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with an assigned sex at birth.
  • 5. Transition – The process by which a person goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another. For most elementary and secondary students, this involves no or minimal medical interventions. In most cases, transgender students under the age of 18 are in a process of social transition from one gender to another.

Guidance on specific issues:

  • Names/Pronouns: A student who has been identified as transgender under these guidelines should be addressed by school staff and other students by the name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity that is consistently asserted at school.
  • Restrooms: A student who has been identified as transgender under these guidelines should be permitted to use the restrooms assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations such as using a separate stall or a staff facility. However, a student shall not be required to use a separate non-communal facility over his/her objection.
  • Locker Rooms: As a general rule, transgender students will be permitted to use the locker room assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student will not be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations, such as using a separate stall, a staff facility, or separate schedule.
  • Other Gender-Segregated Facilities or Activities: As a general rule, in any other facilities or activities when students may be separated by gender, transgender students may participate in accordance with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. Interscholastic athletic activities should be addressed through the Maine Principals Association Transgender Participation Policy.
  • Dress Code: Transgender students may dress in accordance with their consistently asserted gender identity, consistent with any applicable requirements in the dress code or school rules.
  • Safety and Support for Transgender and Transitioning Students: School staff are expected to comply with any plan developed for a transgender student and to notify the building administrator or other designated support person for the student if there are concerns about the plan, or about the student’s safety or welfare.

The Goldwater Institute is defending Ms. Lavigne in this case. Because the school not only kept her daughter's transition a secret from her but also encouraged her daughter to keep it a secret from her parents, this violates the parent's constitutional rights. The Supreme Court has regularly held the decision that parents have a fundamental right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of their children as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Goldwater Institute is demanding that the school board investigate the social worker's actions and that the school board adopts a policy informing parents of any decision that affects their child's mental health or well-being, which would include socially transitioning children or providing them with chest binders.

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Native Mainer living in Piscataquis county that enjoys writing about current news that you should be aware of along with news from my state of Maine and news about First Amendment issues. I always provide no spin, facts only reporting-- guaranteed.

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