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Same sex couple says their daughter was treated unfairly by teacher

AUBURN (WGME) -- Two parents in Auburn say their 12-year-old daughter was left out of a class activity, because she has two moms.

Leaders at the Park Avenue Elementary School say it's all a big misunderstanding.

Auburn sixth grader Kate Theriault was excited about her homework assignment.

She was to brainstorm three essay ideas and she knew right away what they'd be.

Living with same sex parents is no different, she said as she read out loud from her notebook.

Kate lives with her biological mom Julie Theriault and Theriault's partner Erica Ackley.

She said that the teacher singled her out, Ackley said.

Kate says her language arts teacher asked all the students about their essay topics and chose a handful to put up on the board for the class to narrow down to two.

Kate says her ideas never made the first cut.

I felt like I was going to cry, Kate said, I really wanted mine up there.

Kate says she was the only student without one of their ideas chosen for the class.

But Auburn Superintendent Katy Grondin says thats not true.

Not all students ideas were on the board, Grondin told CBS13 News.

Grondin says the teacher didn't leave out Kates ideas because they were about same sex parents, but because they weren't a topic that all students could write about for the common essay.

The point of the lesson was that all students be able to contribute to the essay, Grondin said.

Ackley says one of her daughters ideas was about the benefits of having two moms. A topic, she says, applies to any child living in a blended family.

Kates parents think one of her ideas should have made the first cut - at least, to make Kate feel like her life, with two moms, is worth talking about.

Otherwise she is sitting there feeling like she did something wrong, Ackley said.

Grondin says this is not a case of discrimination, but an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Every day there is a lesson to be learned and I know the teacher has done reflection on how could she have done this differently, Grondin said.

At her parents request, Kate will be moved to a different language arts class on Thursday.