04/03/2014 11:53 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Maine Moms Say Daughter's Same-Sex Parenting Essay Was Not Featured With Classmates' Projects

The lesbian moms of a Maine-based sixth grader are crying foul after they say their 12-year-old daughter's essay about the benefits of having same-sex parents was not featured alongside those of her classmates.

Caitlyn Theriault, who attends Auburn's Park Avenue Elementary School, told local ABC affiliate WMTW that she felt "very, very sad and unhappy" when her writing assignment did not appear on the board next to those of her fellow students. Moms Julie Theriault and Erica Ackley agreed.

"We've come a long way in society, but ... school should be a safe space," Ackley told the news station.

Still, school administrators dismissed the idea that Theriault's essay was singled out in any way, specifying that the assignment was intended as part of a group project.

“Not all students’ ideas were on the board,” Auburn Superintendent Katy Grondin told CBS13 News, according to WGME. She added that Caitlyn's teacher has "done reflection" on how she could have handled the situation differently, but noted, “The point of the lesson was that all students be able to contribute to the essay."

The case follows that of Michael Barth, a Nebraska high school student who won a statewide speech competition for his poetry program about gender stereotypes. At first, Barth was asked by the Nebraska School Activities Association to change the program due to its "controversial" nature, although the decision was later reversed.



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