A lesbian teenager in Texas is launching a suit against her school district for — what else? — bullying. But this isn’t about administrators sitting idly by while they were made aware of classmates taunting a fellow student. This case, involving a girl identified only as S.W., claims Kilgore High School’s softball coaches Cassie Newell (pictured, top and below) and Rhonda Fletcher locked her in the locker room and berated her about being a lesbian and spreading gossip. And then outed her.
S.W., who attended Kilgore district schools for twelve years, is described in the suit as a “happpy, athletic high school sophomore.” That is, until, S.W. showed up on March 2, 2009, for a Bulldogs team meeting and, after her teammates were dismissed, she was instructed to stay behind. That’s when Fletcher, according to the suit, “asked S.W. if she was gay, accused her of having a sexual relationship with another girl. She also claimed that S.W. was spreading gossip about this other girl being ‘Coach Newell’s girlfriend.’ The girl…had interacted with Newell at a number of school events. At the time of [the] confrontation, S.W. was dating that girl. Fletcher and Newell then threatened S.W. that they were going to tell her mother that she was gay and having a sexual relationship with another girl. They warned S.W. that she could not play in the softball game that night until they told her mother this information. Finally, they allowed S.W. to leave the locker room.”
And they carried out their threat to out S.W. to her mother, telling her S.W. was dating an 18-year-old girl. Who, uh, Newell — whose Facebook favorite quotes include “Never do anything to embarass yourself, your family, or your team” — might have been involved with at one point herself, which is what S.W.’s family believes started the confrontation. S.W. was soon kicked off the softball team.
So S.W.’s mom went to the school, reaching out to the high school principal, superintendent Jody Clements, and Board of Trustees. Those efforts were met with deaf ears, which is when the Texas Civil Rights Project got involved — and filed suit, which claims damages of emotion distress, isolation, and a violation of S.W.’s “freedom to deal with her sexuality privately.”
Generally I’d reserve this part of the post to talk about how adults can sometimes be the bullies of gay kids, but here we have allegations of a lesbian coach bullying one of her lesbian players over a lesbian relationship, and it’s like, Kids don’t need this shit.