Parent Eric Lane’s request that these posters be removed from a Gorham Middle School classroom was denied. The School Committee likely will rule on his request to overturn the decision next week. Contributed / Eric Lane

A parent’s months-long battle to have gender identity posters removed from the town’s middle school classrooms goes next week to the Gorham School Committee for an expected ruling.

Eric Lane of Standish, the father of a Gorham Middle School student, is asking the board to overturn Superintendent Heather Perry’s denial of his request last spring to remove the posters that define terms such as cisgender, transgender and nonbinary. Lane has said he objects to the posters because of his Christian beliefs.

Initially, the posters were in a sixth-grade health classroom, but Lane said Tuesday that they are now also in a seventh-grade health classroom.

The seven-member School Committee meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St. The controversy packed a School Committee meeting on May 25 and two police officers attended.

Parent Eric Lane on Aug. 24 asks the Gorham School Committee to remove gender identity posters from the middle school or provide alternative views. The committee will rule on the matter Sept. 14. Robert Lowell / American Journal

In a run up to a board decision this month, Lane voiced his opposition to the posters at a special meeting of the School Committee on Aug. 24. Held at  Town Council chambers, the meeting lacked adequate audio amplification and was not televised.

“These are extremely complicated topics in the sense that they are half-baked ideas, they are contradictory and they are dangerous to plant into the minds of kids,” Lane read to the School Committee from a script that he provided to the American Journal.


“They need to be removed or they need alternative viewpoints represented,” Lane said. “I’m asking you to set your personal beliefs aside, I’m asking you to set your personal activism aside and I’m asking you to view this appeal objectively.”

Perry, who denied Lane’s request April 26, defended her position Aug. 24 and provided the American Journal her remarks.

“We teach students the skills to understand, to think and to make up their own minds about what they believe and why. We do these things to ‘prepare and inspire’ our students to take on the complex challenges facing our current and future world,” Perry said, quoting from the Gorham Schools’ mission statement.

“The key questions for the School Committee here tonight should not be ‘should we teach …?’ It should be, ‘were our district policies followed,'” she said.

Perry denied Lane’s request on the recommendation of the district’s curriculum committee.

Kim Fadrigon, K-8 instructional strategist, also spoke Aug. 24 on behalf of the K-12 Curriculum Review Committee. Perry provided a copy of Fadrigon’s remarks to the American Journal.


“The committee recommended to Superintendent Heather Perry that the posters remain in place as they are current, inclusive of all views, provide information consistent with materials that support our state standards and are presented as a resource,” Fadrigon said. “The posters support the Gorham School’s culture of learning where we strive to value all students equally.”

After Lane’s request was denied April 26, he filed a complaint May 17 against Perry with the School Committee charging 1st amendment discrimination.

In an email Perry sent April 20 to seven members of the review committee she said, “We need to use as many rungs in the ladder as possible to slow the process down to ensure this parent has to work a little on their end as well.”

Lane wrote in his complaint that the email “stated her intention to discriminate against me and make it more difficult to exercise my legal rights and cause me stress.”

On June 22, Lane privately met with the School Committee and its attorney to discuss the complaint.

Lane said Tuesday he has since asked to sit in on gender instruction at the middle school later this quarter or listen in by audio but was turned down by Principal Quinton Donahue.

Comments are not available on this story.