Texas softball coaches sued for ‘outing lesbian student to her parents’
Two softball coaches in Texas are being sued for allegedly outing a lesbian student to her parents.
The 18-year-old, named as SW in court filings, says the coaches at Kilgore Independent School District interrogated her aggressively and violated her privacy.
Her mother, who filed the lawsuit, said she was “shocked” that her daughter’s one-time role models had confronted her about her sexuality.
Assistant softball coach Rhonda Fletcher, head softball coach Cassandra Newell and assistant athletic director Douglas Duke are named in the lawsuit.
According to court filings, SW was confronted in the changing rooms by Ms Newell and Ms Fletcher after a softball game last March. They are said to have locked the door while they questioned her.
The confrontation appears to have been about a love triangle of sorts.
The filing says that the coaches demanded to know if SW was gay and if she had been having a relationship with another 18-year-old girl.
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The pair allegedly accused SW of spreading rumours that the other girl was Ms Newell’s girlfriend. The suit says that the girl had “interacted with Newell at a number of school events”.
SW claimed that they then began shouting at her and Ms Newell made “menacing gestures”. The student said in the filing that she feared they would hit her and that they said they would tell her mother about her girlfriend.
Then, the lawsuit says, the coaches called SW’s mother and told her that her daughter was a lesbian and offered to give her the other girl’s phone number.
SW’s mother says she filed complaints against the softball coaches but nothing was done. She was apparently told by the school that it was “legally obligated to share this information with the parent”.
The student was removed from the softball team and was said to have suffered “severe mental and emotional anguish, “social isolation” and had been “robbed her of the freedom to deal with her sexuality privately, at her own pace and on her own terms”.
Kilgore’s superintendent of schools Jody Clements told the Houston Press: “We feel confident we handled it the right way. But that’s why there is a legal system. We’ll proceed and let the courts decide what was right.”