Students in the Munroe Elementary School after-school garden club (L-R) Anai Carrillo, Jessica Grimaldo, Andrea Torres and Sandaley Haileseolph at the table in the foreground chop vegetables to put in a stir fry dish they would cook in Denver, Colorado May 9, 2012. The students learn to grow and prepare healthy meals in the school's garden club, with some of the food going to the school's lunch program. Colorado has the second fastest growing childhood obesity rate in the nation says non-profit LiveWell Colorado. Groups like Livewell are working to reduce childhood obesity by supporting school gardens, especially in low income areas, to provide learning about healthy food while actually providing nourishment. Studies have shown that children are more likely to try eating fresh fruit and vegetables if they are involved in growing them. Photo taken May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The parents of a transgender girl have filed discrimination charges against a Colorado school district on Wednesday after school officials would not allow their daughter to use the girls' bathroom at her school.
On Feb. 15, the Colorado Civil Rights Division formally charged the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 on behalf of Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, the parents of 6-year-old Coy Mathis who attends Eagleside Elementary where school officials have banned the first grader from using the girls' bathroom because she was born a boy, The Denver Post reports.
"We just want her to have the same opportunities all our other children have, to be treated equally and without discrimination," Kathryn Mathis said during a news conference.
School officials began enforcing the ban in January, when they became aware that the blonde haired girl was actually born a boy but identified herself as a girl, FOX 31 Denver reports.
"They told us our options were to use the nurse's bathroom, the boy's bathroom or the staff bathroom," said her mother, adding that she and the father decided to home school their daughter until the matter is resolved.
The school district has thirty days to respond to the charge before the case goes to investigators at the Civil Rights Division. The opposing parties will have an opportunity to mediate the dispute but if no agreement is reached the Civil Rights Division will begin its investigation and will determine if discrimination occurred.
The opposing parties will then meet once more for compulsory conciliation. If no deal is reached the Civil Rights Commission will pass the case down to an administrative law judge.
Steven Chavez, Director of the Civil Rights Division, told The Denver Post that focus will be on the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act which protects transgender students and allows them to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
However, the school districts' discrimination policies do not address transgender students specifically "but it does state that the Denver schools do not discriminate based on gender identity," school district spokeswoman Kristy Armstrong said.