"Outed" gay Kilgore teen now out for justice

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - A lawsuit was filed, Monday, in a Tyler federal court, against three Kilgore High School coaches and the Kilgore Independent School District.

Attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project filed the suit on behalf of Barbara Wyatt, and her daughter, Skye. They're seeking damages and injunctive relief against the coaches and the district for disregarding Skye's constitutional rights.

Rhonda Fletcher, the Assistant Softball Coach, Cassandra Newell, the Head Softball Coach, Douglas Duke, the Assistant Athletic Director, and the Kilgore school district are named as defendants.

Attorney Nick Jackson with the Texas Civil Rights Project said the coaches "blatantly disregarded" Skye's "constitutional privacy rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by intentionally disclosing" Skye's sexual orientation to her mother.

"It's not something I would have wanted her to know, ever," said Skye. KLTV's Layron Livingston spoke with Skye on Wednesday, with her mother's permission

"It was especially hard for me to deal with, especially in the manner I had to," said Skye.

According to the lawsuit, in March 2009, Skye went to the softball field to meet with her teammates. Allegedly, the coaches dismissed the team and led Skye into an empty locker room, locked the door behind them and then started "interrogating" her. The suit said claims the girl was threatened, and accused of having an alleged sexual relationship with a female student.

"If things had gotten out of hand, there was no one there for her," said Barbara Wyatt.

Wyatt said the coaches later called her to discuss what happened, then asked her if she knew her daughter was gay. "I replied, no," said Wyatt.

She said she was more upset at the way the situation was handled.

"We're going to make this right," she said. "They've ruined [Skye's] world and I'm not going to tolerate it."

According to the lawsuit, Barbara filed three different complaints with the school district.

The suit also claims the coaches continued to "out" Skye to the other students and employees.

Wyatt decided to file suit.

"We think it's an important issue and it's an upsetting situation, but this is an area where the law is clear," said Nick Jackson, an attorney with the Civil Rights Project.

"Kids commit suicide over it," said Wyatt. "If we don't want to continue to lose our children to these types of issues, then we have to do some changing."

Skye has since been kicked-off the softball team.

Kilgore ISD is out for the holiday and hasn't been served with the lawsuit.

Kilgore Superintendent Jody Clements says "he's confident the district handled the situation appropriately."

The district is expected to respond to the lawsuit in the coming weeks.

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