-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Texas Civil Rights Project attorney James C. Harrington has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against the Kilgore [TX] Independent School District and softball coaches Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell. The suit was brought on behalf of the mother of the minor daughter, referred to as S.W. The suit alleges that the coaches violated the daughter’s fourteenth amendment right to privacy by disclosing the girl’s sexual orientation to her mother.
The KISD claims their policy mandates that teachers reveal students’ sexual orientation to their parents.
The complaint alleges that Fletcher and Newell, using their authority as school officials, restrained S.W. in a locked room and forced her to confirm her sexual orientation. The complaint also alleges that Fletcher claimed that S.W. was spreading gossip that another girl was “Coach Newell’s girlfriend.”
From the complaint:
When S.W. denied these accusations, Fletcher and Newell reacted angrily. Fletcher stepped in close to S.W. and began yelling at her, threatening to sue her for slander and demanding that she “stop lying.” Newell also made menacing gestures. S.W. was very afraid, and feared they might strike her. This behavior went on for a few minutes.
I fail to see a compelling, or even reasonable, governmental interest in violating a student’s privacy in such a manner.
The lawsuit asks for actual and punitive damages. They better be glad that I’m not on the jury.