The seven year old lawsuit of a transgender student who was not allowed to use the girl’s bathroom at schools in Orono has finally been brought to closure.
The case of Nicole Maines, now 17, dates back to 2007 when Maines – who was born a boy but identified herself early on as a female – was told she could no longer use the girl’s bathroom at the Asa Adams School after a relative of a male student at the school complained. Maines was subsequently told to use a staff bathroom, both at Asa Adams and the Orono Middle School, before the Maines family later moved from Orono.
Maines’ parents, however, later filed a claim of discrimination with the Maine Human rights Commission, which ruled in the Maines’ favor. That led the Maines to file a suit against the Orono School Department, which later became RSU 26, in 2009; at the Superior Court level, the ruling was in favor of RSU 26, but that decision was overturned earlier this year by the Maine Supreme Court, paving the way for the suit to continue.
In a superior court ruling late last month, RSU 26 was banned from discriminating against other transgender students and awarded $75,000 to the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders of Boston, MA, which represented the Maines. An unspecified amount of that award will go back to the Maines family.
All but $5,000 of the $75,000 settlement, as well as legal costs run up by RSU 26 in the past seven years, will be paid by the Maine School Management Association, which is RSU 26’s insurance carrier.


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