Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

Lesbian High School Softball Player Harassed, Outed to Mom by Coaches

Two high school softball coaches in Texas stand accused of threateningly interrogating a lesbian sophomore player and then “outing” her to her mother and kicking her off the team. The girl, Skye Wyatt, and her mother have filed a federal lawsuit against the coaches, the school district and an assistant athletic director at Kilgore High School in east Texas.

The suit alleges that coaches Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell called an unscheduled, off-campus practice on March 2 2009. After dismissing all the other players, the coaches locked Wyatt in an empty locker room and proceeded to menacingly threaten her while they accused her of being a lesbian and having a sexual relationship with another girl. It turns out that Coach Newell may have been infuriated because she may have previously dated Wyatt’s girlfriend. “Skye was very afraid and feared [the coaches] might strike her,” the lawsuit alleges.

After this harrowing confrontation, the coaches then allegedly phoned Wyatt’s mother and asked her to meet them at the field. When she arrived, they told her that her daughter was homosexual and handed over the phone number of her girlfriend. Skye was then kicked off the team, but the coaches told her teammates that she’d quit. Their actions “caused Skye severe mental and emotional anguish, resulted in social isolation and robbed her of the freedom to deal with her sexuality privately, at her own pace and on her own terms,” the lawsuit states.

Before suing, the mother tried to redress her grievances directly with the school. Kilgore Independent School District officials responded by saying they were legally obligated to disclose Wyatt’s sexuality.

“KISD’s policy mandates that teachers disclose students’ sexual orientation to their parents,” the lawsuit says.

“Discrimination, bullying and the infliction of emotional trauma against students who are gay or believed to be gay is a nationally recognized problem,” the suit states. “Defendants’ actions and policies exacerbate this problem and set a very harmful example to students, teachers and parents in Kilgore ISD.”

And all over America. It’s hard enough just being a teenager these days. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens, life can be downright hellish. Ostracism, bullying and bigotry can be as much a part of LGBT teens’ lives as classes and homework. Witness the recent wave of gay teen suicides.

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5 Comments

  1. 2010: A Year of Equality, UK: Coalition Ministers Considers Gay Marriage Plans, A New Meaning for ‘Brothers in Arms’, and more… » DailyQueerNews.comDecember 27, 2010 at 2:52 amReply

    […] TX: Lesbian High School Softball Player Harassed, Outed to Mom by Coaches. Read more  […]

  2. Clay BoggessDecember 27, 2010 at 9:59 amReply

    The way that this coach handled the situation was completely out of line and unprofessional. She committed this act purely out of passion and rage while failing to use any common sense whatsoever. I predict that she will inevitably pay for her actions against this student.

    • BrettDecember 27, 2010 at 11:39 amReplyAuthor

      Let’s hope so. What makes this story so unique is that it’s NOT your typical homophobia-fueled episode; it was, as you say, a “crime of passion.”

  3. DakotahgeoDecember 27, 2010 at 1:53 pmReply

    I believe the only way (or just one of the only ways) to stop this infringement on GLBT persons’ rights is for all insurance companies to simply refuse to insure teachers, Staff, Administration, District officers, and all educational employees. When the student has been wronged, attach any and all properties, monies, and future earnings of the above and grant it to the students, should they win their Court cases. This has been going on way to long, and the only way the above education employees will learn is through loss of their income and properties, now and in their futures.
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  4. DakotahgeoDecember 27, 2010 at 1:55 pmReply

    I am also a retired public school teacher of 25 years. I’ve seen injustices such as the above incident happen over and over again.

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