Republican state lawmakers condemned the actions of school officials at Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta after The Maine Wire revealed the school began a secret gender transition on a 13-year-old girl without her parents’ knowledge or consent.
Amber Lavigne, the girl’s mother, went public with the shocking story during a school board meeting on Wednesday. She told the school board she discovered the school’s clandestine plan to place her daughter on the path to becoming a boy when she found a breast binder in her bedroom.
[RELATED: Public School Worker Who Began Secret Gender Transition on 13-Year-Old Maine Girl Has Conditional License…]
The binder was provided by 26-year-old conditionally licensed social worker Sam Roy. Lavigne said Roy also encouraged her daughter to keep the transition a secret from her parents, an act that may have been a violation of the school’s personnel policies.
Republican leaders in the State Legislature were shocked by the conduct of the school officials and questioned whether their actions broke state laws.
“Parents are asked to fill out mountains of consent forms and permission slips dealing with their child’s education,” said House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor).
“It’s shocking that someone within a school system would engage in this type of behavior without consent or permission from their parents,” he said.
“Intentionally misleading parents and encouraging students to make serious medical decisions without parental input is dangerous and likely criminal,” said Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart (R-Aroostook).
[RELATED: Maine School Hides Staff List After Report on Secret Gender Transition for 13-Year-Old Girl…]
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills declined to respond to an email asking whether she approved of the school officials’ actions.
Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin also did not respond to an email asking whether there would be an investigation into what happened at the school.
Great Salt Bay Community School’s personnel policies prohibit staff members from asking students to keep secrets. According to Lavigne, that’s exactly what Roy did.
“A social worker at the school encouraged a student to keep a secret from her parents,” said Lavigne.
“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.”
But so far the school has refused to say whether Roy will face any disciplinary action.
Roy has not responded to requests for comment and neither have school officials.
This social worker needs education and support from supervisors and colleagues and school personnel need better guidance on how to handle these situations. If there was over-identification by the social worker that is an important therapist development issue. That is why conditional licensees need supervision. This child needs a new counselor after Roy repairs what he did incorrectly. Acknowledgment must be made that this was a hasty process and the child should not have been advised to hide her process from her parents.
The school board must work with the Superintendent and the GBCS principal to create an ethical policy for these situations. The entire process must be transparent to the public.
This situation could be a learning opportunity for all schools and all counselors.
Ms. Lavigne has an important opportunity to help others here.