Monday, June 10, 2013

Court Says Outing Students Does Not Violate Rights To Privacy

It's hard enough to be the gay kid at school, facing your peers every day, who may, or may not, bully and belittle you while you walk the halls. But throw in teachers and coaches who bully gay students and it becomes even more disgusting, and then toss is the ruling, the bullying ruling, of the US court system bullying you, and it's no wonder gays kids are trying to find a way out these days.

Barbara Wyatt sued Texas' Kilgore Independent School District and two of its coaches—Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell—saying that the two women violated her daughter’s privacy when they confronted Wyatt and her 16-year-old daughter, Skye, about a lesbian relationship the teen was having.

Skye hadn't yet told her mother she was gay.

During a 2009 confrontation, Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell allegedly took Skye into a locker room, threatened her, interrogated her and eventually kicked her off the team for her involvement with another female student; then they told her mother that her daughter was gay. See my original post HERE.

After the confrontation, Skye became anxious and depressed; her grades went down, she started missing classes and even attempted suicide. So, her mother sued the school district over what those coaches had done to her daughter. Good for her, right?

It would have been accept last month the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled coaches Fletcher and Newell didn't violate the Skye’s privacy because there is no precedent regarding a public school student's right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment when it comes to sexual orientation:
"The Fifth Circuit has never held that a person has a constitutionally-protected privacy interest in her sexual orientation, and it certainly has never suggested that such a privacy interest precludes school authorities from discussing with parents matters that relate to the interests of their children. Therefore, when the magistrate judge in this case held that there is a constitutional right that bars the unauthorized disclosure by school coaches of a student's sexual orientation to the student's mother, he proclaimed a new rule of law."
There was one judge, Judge James Graves Jr., who disagreed, saying that because the coaches themselves acknowledged the private nature of the information--remember they took her into a locker room to confront her, away from everyone else, then it should fall within the category of highly personal information protected by the law.

But Graves was in the minority, which I guess means, that if she’d been a straight girl schtupping her boyfriend, she would be entitled to privacy, but being of a different sexual orientation, Skye has a different set of rules placed upon her.

Bad enough she might get bullied at school by fellow students for being gay, but then she was attacked and belittled and, in my mind, held against her will and bullied, by Rhonda Fletcher and Cassandra Newell. Then, to top it all off, the United States judicial system decided to jump on the Bully Wagon and say that because Skye Wyatt is a lesbian, she isn’t entitled to the same privacy as her heterosexual counterparts.

In 2013. In America.


Gill "Biki" Honko said...

Horrible, just horrible.

the dogs' mother said...

There is the legal concept of 'in loco parentis is a legal doctrine describing a relationship similar to that of a parent to a child. It refers to an individual who assumes parental status and responsibilities for another individual'
Which means that you, as a school employee, can't ignore a child's dire condition because you are not the parent. Came before mandatory reporting.

Unfortunately those ladies determined that sexual orientation is a dire condition. All issues with sexuality are tricksy and the law is all over the place - just open the Pandora's box on teenage pregnancy and access to abortion.

What the coaches forgot was to place the heart and soul of the girl first.

Bob said...

This: "What the coaches forgot was to place the heart and soul of the girl first." says it all.

Anonymous said...

Texas is a horrible place to live once you step outside of Austin or San Antonio.

the dogs' mother said...

Bob, xoxoxoxoxo :-)

anne marie in philly said...

sweet baby cheeses! what business is it of the coaches anyway? you are correct that, if this was a str8 thang, nothing would be said.

TEXAS - wink wink nudge nudge say no more!

Ron said...

Just more proof that we have a LONG way to go before gays have equal rights.
Retired in Delaware