Texas School Districts Are Allowed to Out Gay Kids to Their Parents, Court Rules

SkyeWyatt.jpg
The Texas Civil Rights Project hoped that Skye Wyatt's case would set a precedent. Wyatt, the activists claimed, was confronted by her two Kilgore High School softball coaches in the locker room after a team meeting, where they accused her of having a lesbian relationship with another girl. The coaches soon made good on their promise to tell Wyatt's mother that she was gay.

And how did her family respond?

By filing a federal lawsuit, alleging that her constitutional right to privacy had been violated.

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"We want to change the way they do business in Kilgore," one of their attorneys told the Houston Press at the time. "They have to learn to respect the rights of students."

They had some success early in the case, when a magistrate judge rejected the softball coaches' motion for summary judgement, holding that Skye Wyatt's "right to privacy in her sexual orientation was clearly established" and that there were "multiple unresolved questions of fact" that would be appropriately addressed in court.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was much less sympathetic to their case. On Friday, in a split decision, a three-judge panel rejected the magistrate judge's decision.

We hold that there is no clearly established law holding that a student in a public secondary school has a privacy right under the Fourteenth Amendment that precludes school officials from discussing with a parent the student's private matters, including matters relating to sexual activity of the student. We further hold that such students have no clearly established Fourth Amendment right that bars a student-coach confrontation in a closed and locked room.

The court also took issue with certain claims contained in the lawsuit that later testimony revealed to be untrue. For example, the suit said the softball coaches had asked Skye Wyatt point blank if she was gay. They didn't. More to the point, they never used the word "gay" or "lesbian" during their conversation with Barbara Wyatt. They merely informed her that Skye, referred to in court documents by her initials, might be involved with an older girl named Hillary Nutt.



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141 comments
boogie
boogie

(Hank Hill voice)

"Hello, is this Mrs. Wyatt? This is Coach Hill from the High School. Do you know your daughter likes pussy?"

Whoops...
Whoops...

Whoa... hold up. Those coaches....busted Nutt.  Ahaha. Sorry, immature adolescent homosexual here. Seriously, though, this is completely wrong. A lot of you already knew that, though. So, carry on. Just trying to brighten up this tragedy a bit.

Barack
Barack

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birf control pills what difference do it make?

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

While all these fags below are crying about teen suicide no one has even thought about the fact that the observer put this poor little closet lesbian's picture on blast.

JMFitzmaurice
JMFitzmaurice

I think we have two separate issues here. One is what the coaches did, the other is the court ruling. From what came out in court - vs what the young lady alleges, it sound as if they did not upbraid her for her sexual orientation, they spoke with her alone, and since it was a public area, they locked the door to prevent other students entering. Then they informed her mother, that their daughter was in a relationship with someone with a history of drug abuse. 

I don't know their motivation, they could be raging homophobes, they could be gay rights activists, or they could be anywhere in between. I imagine if there had been problems because of this relationship, and it came out teachers knew about it and didn't inform parents, there could have been issues from that too. Absent knowledge of the motivation, I can see a legitimate reason for the action of the coaches.

The court; however, is WAY out of line in their ruling. A limited ruling that said the responsibility of the school to protect children from possibly dangerous situations outweighed privacy concerns in this case would have been defensible - again based on the information here, I'm assuming there wasn't anything additional like a history of anti-gay activity from the coaches. There has always been a need to balance student privacy concerns, with the in loco parentis role of teachers. Courts have often made that judgement (locker searches, etc). To rule, in effect, that students have no rights of privacy at all is unconscionable.

marks
marks

She plays softball. Why would she need to outed?


Marvin Remmers
Marvin Remmers

The girl was underage. They should have called the police, as well. It doesn't matter if she is gay or straight. Should the coaches at Penn State have worried about outing young boys?

Charles Milian
Charles Milian

Just moved here to Texas, didn't know this was a third world country. What next? Killing adulterers?

usorthem3
usorthem3

When are gay people in Texas going to understand, the major percentage of the population in the state hate you and want you dead. Leave as quickly as you can before you are attacked on the street if you haven't been already simply because you're gay. They will shower you with "Bless your heart" all while playing in their mind what kind of torture to inflict if they had the change to do what their faithful heart desires, stone a sinner till dead.

Americano
Americano

Shouldn't the coaches go to every other parent and tell them their kid is straight?

NealRanzoni
NealRanzoni

It has been ruled a child's civil rights do not stop at the school yard gates. That was at the federal level. Where did she find her lawyer in the bottom of a cereal box?

Waylon Ward
Waylon Ward

And if that's the argument, I suggest they should start doing so to every student that is dating another student where those circumstances may be an issue. Which would be across the board.

Waylon Ward
Waylon Ward

I read the article. Doesn't change a thing. None of the schools business. They can word it however they want, she was outted.

jamessavik
jamessavik

What a brilliant way to kick off a wave of teen suicides. 

Out a bunch of gay kids to religious fanatic parents. Oh sure. That'll work.


Ashley Merrell
Ashley Merrell

I reread the end of the article and noticed there was a second page (which unfortunately hadn't caught my eye before), which seems to explain the entire reasoning the coaches confronted the parents. It also explains the fact that they spoke to her in private first (before telling her parents), which I agree with. The article also goes on to explain that,"when it comes to their parents, kids have essentially no right to privacy at school." --- which, in some cases may not be a good thing, but in a lot of cases it can be a good thing for the child's well being. The reason the coaches confronted the parents was because the girl she was possibly mingling with (in a sexual or friendly relationship, the coaches didn't necessarily care which) was, "a potentially dangerous and underage user of illegal drugs and alcohol, and any possible sexual relationship between Nutt and S.W. was a valid concern." I now understand both sides of the story.

Kristen Lopez
Kristen Lopez

ugh. half the softball team at almost every high school thinks they're lesbians like a new fashion trend and only one or two turn out to stick with it. Leave them alone.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

It's clear, based on most of these comments, that the real problem in Texas is adult illiteracy. People, read the friggin' article, not just the headline.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

Did any of you read the article or just the headline? The article doesn't add up to your opinions, but the headline does. Might I suggest reading it and if you still hate Texas so much, I'm sure one of the more evolved states would gladly welcome you.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

Who in the hell is in charge?

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

David, it used to be. Now, not so much. At or near the bottom on most quality of life issues. We need another Ann Richards to kick ass!

Samantha Rios
Samantha Rios

I wanted to be pissed off but after reading the article in its entirety the teachers/coaches didn't out her. They called the mom over real concern over the fact she was hanging out with an older girl that was suspected of doing drugs and drinking and the dissention among the team because of it. To me those are valid concerns. Especially as a parent of two girls myself.

Stephanie Calvin
Stephanie Calvin

I have two thoughts on this....first of all...if the teacher can see that the person is gay.......wouldnt the parents already know? Secondly....how can a teacher not get involved in a students private life? They spend nearly everyday with their students for a year! That being said.........I dont agree with the courts ruling.

David McCollum
David McCollum

A teacher can't discuss a student's personnel issue with a parent... stupid!

Mike Hathaway
Mike Hathaway

If you read the article, they didn't. The mom admitted later that she "inferred" her daughter's orientation from the coaches comments. They never once said the girl was gay, nor did they ask her directly if she was gay.

Kate Andria Martin
Kate Andria Martin

YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME:/ You are just asking for teenage suicides. I don't want to live in this state let alone on this planet anymore. ARG!

Guesty
Guesty

@JMFitzmaurice Well, the ruling is that students have no right of privacy to prevent the disclosure of information to the parents of that student.  There are rights to privacy to avoid the disclosure of private student information to people other than the parents.  I'm not sure if this is what you were talking about or not so I wanted to clarify.  

usorthem3
usorthem3

@marks What a show of a true homophobic comment by an ignorant person. I would gather you are from Texas. Typical.

hix.miblue.john
hix.miblue.john

@Charles Milian Please go back to whatever gay community you immigrated from as you probably only came to Texas to take a native Texan's job.

Threeboys
Threeboys

@Charles Milian

You're welcome to leave.  No border fences here.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@usorthem3 do you even live in Texas, I have no idea why you people think all Texans are such homophobes that they want to kill gay people.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@jamessavik jeezus christ, do we really think every gay kid has crazy parent that are going to drive them to suicide because they are gay?  

Barack
Barack

@Blake Wilson 

Literacy is important; everyone should pick-up their litter.

 

hix.miblue.john
hix.miblue.john

@Blake Wilson Sorry but that cant be helped with a Tea Party GOP in control that will not fund the public schools but yet wants a voucher system to establish all white schools to protect their children.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Blake Wilson WHO are you responding to??? There is a "reply" button under each post! Sheesh! Talk about adult illiteracy!

patrickzmail
patrickzmail

@David McCollum Ha hah ahahahahah ahahahahahaha! You are too funny...

usorthem3
usorthem3

I am from Texas and just moved away because with the Christians in the state calling for physical violence against all gay people, I didn't want to end up being murdered and burned by the "faithful".  Google Rainbow Lounge raid and understand that the police "Bubba" network will never protect a gay person from attacks because they enjoy so much attacking gay people themselves. Your own GOV(if you can call him that) believes that gay people should be locked up or killed to appease his blood lust god.

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@casiepierce @Blake Wilson To be fair, this isn't Blake's fault. Our commenting system pulls comments from Facebook and can't figure out who's responding to whom. Sorry. It's annoying. I'll see if they can get it fixed.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@jamessavik seriously?  MANY time?  Well if you saw the parents doing things to make a kid commit suicide, did you do anything about it, did you help the kid, did you call the cops, because if you didnt do anything about the abuse, you are as complicit as the parents who did that to their children.  

usorthem3
usorthem3

Wrong, I am from Texas & since you are resorting to sophomoric children's behavior, MORON.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@usorthem3 after reading all 4 of your comments here, you must not be from here at all.  Idiot

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@joe.tone @casiepierce no kidding Joe, and to further confuse us, no one on FB knows we are even replying to them so dont ever expect a reply back.  Do they even know their comments their get posted here?  

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