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.