A public school worker at Great Salt Bay Community School who coached a 13-year-old girl into a gender transition without telling her parents has only a conditional license to practice social work in Maine, The Maine Wire has learned.
Amber Lavigne, the mother of the young girl, revealed at a school board meeting Wednesday that she discovered a chest binder in her daughter’s bedroom several weeks ago. Her daughter told her the binder was provided by a social worker at the public school who encouraged her to keep it secret from her parents, she said.
That’s when Lavigne learned that the social worker and other school staff had started a social gender transition for the girl in October without her parent’s knowledge or consent.
Sources have confirmed that the social worker in question is Sam Roy, a 26-year-old UMaine graduate student who has a conditional license from the state of Maine to work as a social worker.
Roy started working with the Damariscotta school this fall.
Roy has scheduled to graduate next year from the University of Maine with his Master’s Degree in social work, according to his LinkedIn page, but records indicate he passed his masters exam in June.
Roy earned his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and social work from the University of Maine in 2020.
Roy did not respond to an email asking for comment on Lavigne’s allegation that he and others at Great Salt Bay Community School secretly began a gender transition for Lavigne’s 13-year-old daughter.
Lavigne learned that the school had begun transitioning her daughter when she discovered a chest binder in the girl’s bedroom.
A chest binder is a device that flatten’s the appearance of a woman’s breasts. They are sometimes used by individuals suffering from gender dysphoria or gender confusion. Unless worn properly, binders can cause or exacerbate health problems.
Binders are typically used during social gender transitions and are considered a stepping stone to an eventual double mastectomy, a surgery that removes healthy breast tissue.
Lavigne learned from her daughter that Roy had encouraged her to conceal the binder from her parents, she said. She had no idea school staff were using masculine pronouns for her daughter.
Although Lavigne knew that her daughter was seeing a social worker through the school, she did not know that her daughter was reassigned to Roy in October. She has never seen or talked to Roy.
Less than two weeks after meeting her daughter, and just a few weeks after the girl turned 13, Roy supplied the chest binder, Lavigne said.
The Maine Wire has attempted to contact every school board member as well as district superintendent Lynsey Johnston with multiple phone calls and emails.
None of them have responded.
Johnston declined to respond to emailed questions asking whether she believed Roy’s counseling of the girl was appropriate.
She also did not say what the district’s policy is for hiring conditionally licensed staff to act as social workers.
Great Salt Bay Community School’s secret grooming of the girl came to light on Wednesday during a meeting of the school board.
At the school board meeting, Lavigne tearfully addressed school officials and described the harm the school had caused to her family.
“A social worker at the school encouraged a student to keep a secret from her parents,” she said.
“This is the very definition of child predatory sexual grooming,” she said. “Predators work to gain a victims’ trust by driving a wedge between them and their parents.”
“Laws, policies, and parental trust were broken,” she said. “No other parent should have to go through the trauma and distress this has caused my family.”
Immediately after she revealed what Roy and the school had done to her daughter, Chris Coleman of Nobleboro, a 4th grade teacher at Great Salt Bay Community School, spoke at the meeting and attacked critics of the school’s gender transition policies.
“I’m here because members of our community, and perhaps some from afar, have decided that our transgender students do not deserve to feel safe at school,” said Coleman.
He said the term “groomer” was insulting for teachers.
After the The Maine Wire reported exclusively on Lavigne and Coleman’s remarks, Coleman began scrubbing his social media.
In a phone interview, Lavigne declined to comment beyond her public statement at the board meeting. She said she will have more to say after she consults with an attorney about possible litigation against the school system.
Lavigne has pulled her daughter from the school system.
It’s unclear what legal options might be available to parents when a school secretly conspires to put their child on the path to a gender transition.
In 2019, the Maine Legislature passed, and Gov. Janet Mills signed, a law that bans “conversion therapy” of minors.
Conversion therapy is a controversial practice in which counselors attempt to convince gay or transgender individuals that they are not, in fact, gay or transgender.
The practice is widely regarded as pseudoscience.
The conversion therapy ban, however, does not apply to instances where counselors attempt to convince minors that they are gay or transgender.
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