A Maine mom has called for an investigation into her 13-year-old daughter’s school after she claims a social worker gave the teen a gender-transitioning device known as a “chest binder” and encouraged her to keep it secret from her parents.
Amber Lavigne, of Damariscotta, told the National Review that she found her daughter’s chest-flattening garment in December and confronted the teen, who claimed a friend gave it to her.
“I want you to think long and hard if there’s anything else you want to share with me about this because I am going to reach out to your friend’s mom,” Lavigne said she told her daughter.
The girl then admitted she got the device at the Great Salt Bay Community School, where she had been reassigned to a new social worker, Samuel Roy, according to the outlet.
But school officials never informed the mother and Roy never reached out to her, according to the National Review.
Lavigne said that when she discovered the chest binder, she emailed Superintendent Lynsey Johnston and Principal Kim Shaff.
Shaff called her the next morning to ask for more details about the binder and what exactly was in it, she said.
“Because in her mind I’m talking about, like, a three-ring binder, something you should find in a school,” Lavigne told the news outlet.
In a phone conversation, “I poured my heart out to this woman. She absolutely validated my feelings and made me feel like something was going to be done,” she said.
Lavigne said that during a meeting with Shaff and Johnston, they “both sat there and expressed grave concern for what happened with my daughter.”
After meeting with Roy, the school officials appeared to support the social worker and did not answer Lavigne’s questions or turn over any records, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the National Review said.
“These people had no desire to work with me as a human being,” the mom said of the school board and district leaders.
Lavigne also found out that school staff had been referring to her daughter by a new name and by male pronouns.
“I feel like my rights were violated and my daughter’s education was put on the back burner,” Lavigne told the Washington Times. I feel like they overstepped and drove a wedge between my child and her family.”
Lavigne pulled her daughter out of the school. She is being represented by attorneys from the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, who argue that the school’s actions are unconstitutional and violate her rights.
A letter sent to school board chairman Samuel Belknap by the Goldwater Institute said the actions “violated Ms. Lavigne’s fundamental constitutional right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of her daughter, as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” the Washington Times reported.
The conservative public policy research and litigation group called for a probe into Roy’s actions — and for the board to update its policies to make it clear that parents must be advised of decisions affecting their children’s mental health and physical well-being.
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