By: Darra Loganzo
In Fountain, Colorado, a first-grader named Coy Mathis has recently been told that her school, Eagleside Elementary School will not meet to discuss a change in regulations about its strict ruling. The district has told Coy, who was born a male but identifies as a transgender female, that she is not allowed to use the girls’ bathroom, and is restricted to feeling like an outsider by forcing her to use the boys’ bathroom, nurse’s bathroom, or a staff bathroom.
Coy’s parents Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis were extremely disturbed by this reaction towards their six-year-old daughter, and its discrepency with the stat of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Laws. As a result, they filed a complaint against Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 with the Colorado Civil Rights Division in February hoping the decision would be changed. However, the school district will not enter mediation with the Mathis family, and will also not comment on their decision.
Personally, I believe this situation is extremely unfair towards Coy and her family. If Coy identifies as a female, her and her family’s wishes should be respected in school. By forcing Coy to abide by rules seperate from those of her peers, the school district is already setting her apart as different. Consequently, as Coy grows older, it opens the gates for bullying, insecurity, and making her feel isolated. Rather than viewing the issue as a problem of being different and listening to others who claim to feel “uncomfortable,” by this variation from the norm, I feel it would be better to educate the other first-graders and their families about being accepting and open-minded to those who are different from them. Young children’s minds are fresh, malleable, and able to be taught. It is proven that if young children grow up with certain surroundings and become accostomed to them, they will be more accepting to them as they grow older, and they will not seem abnormal because they are used to them. Therefore, instead of setting Coy apart, I believe the school district should treat Coy as any other student in the school, as they should, and from there offer any means necessary to make sure her school-mates understand that she is a student just like them.
This would provide a comforting and appropriate environment for every student, which is what a public school should be offering its students. A student enrolled in a public school should be treated the same as every other student, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality. We should be creating environments that are accepting of everyone and allow students to grow in a place they feel they are not being judged, seperated, or labeled as “different.”