Lesbian Softball Player Outed by Her Teachers Has Settled the Case
Photo by John Barry de Nicola
A lesbian teenager was allegedly outed by her high school softball coaches, but now, after grudgingly reaching a settlement, the Kilgore Independent School District has reiterated that the coaches did nothing wrong.
It all started in March 2009 in the locker room of Kilgore High School. Skye Wyatt was a 16-year-old sophomore softball player when her coaches confronted her in the locker room about her sexuality, according to court documents:
"Her coaches, Rhonda Fleming and Cassandra Newell, aggressively confronted, bullied, and berated her in a locker room to extract and publicize constitutionally private information against her will. Specifically, while acting under color of law as KISD staff, they blatantly disregarded Skye Wyatt's constitutional rights ... brutally interrogating her about her most intimate secrets, forcing her to disclose private information against her will, and disclosing her sexual orientation without permission and without any genuine, legitimate and compelling governmental interest."
The coaches had found out she was dating an 18-year-old girl that she'd met through one of the coaches, according to court documents. They forced her to admit her sexual orientation and then they called Skye's mother, Barbara Wyatt, and had her come to the softball field, according to court documents. When Barbara Wyatt arrived, the coaches told her Skye was gay.
Skye hadn't come out yet, and instead of being allowed to figure out and address her sexuality in her own time, her choice was taken away, Houston lawyer Paula Hinton said. The aftermath was ugly. Skye was kicked off the softball team, she struggled with depression and became a cutter, Hinton said.
"It was the worst form of bullying imaginable. It changed this girl's life, and not for the better," Hinton said. "It is not for a teacher to interrogate a 16-year-old girl about who she is dating. They claimed a year later that they had a legal obligation to do so, but if they truly believed that statute applied, they would have called law enforcement."