I should have gone to a betting site. I should have gone to a betting site to see how far into 2011 we'd get before we hear our first story of anti-gay bullying. But, I can't imagine any betting site would wager that the bullying would not be student-to-student, but adult-to-student. That is a whole other wager, though it would be a winning one.
Back on March 2, 2010, SW was having a normal day at softball practice when, after practice ended, her coach, Cassie Newell and another coach, Rhonda Fletcher, told the other girls to go home, and told SW to stay.
These two coaches then took her into a locker room and locked the door and asked if she was gay. They also accused her of having a sexual relationship with another girl, and claimed that SW was spreading gossip that this other girl was "Coach Newell's girlfriend." Fletcher and Newell threatened SW by saying they would out her to her mother, and told her that she would not be allowed to play in that night's softball game until they had told her mother.
They then followed through on their threats and called SW's mother, Coach Newell even offered the other girl's contact information to SW's mother; information she retrieved from her cell phone; information which lead SW, her mother, and the Texas Civil Rights Project attorneys, to assume that the harassment, and outing of SW was done in a fit of jealousy, because the other girl had previously been dating Coach Newell.
A jealous coach takes her anger out on a student. But it doesn't end there. SW was subsequently kicked off the softball team and her academic performance faltered. Her dreams of using a softball scholarship to attend college to study sports medicine was destroyed.
SW and her mother, along with the Texas Civil Rights project, filed suit only after the mother exhausted every other avenue to remedy the situation. She spoke to the high school principal, the superintendent, and the district's Board of Trustees, but no one offered any solution.
No solution to harassment of a student by a teacher, a person in a position of power, a person in a position of trust. No solution to a girl being held against her will in a locker room by a jealous coach.
Well, there is a solution, and it's called 'You're fired.' There is a solution and it's called education. There is a solution and it's called holding people in positions of power, of trust, responsible for their actions.
Bullying. By teachers.