by Megan Smith
In 2009, then 16-year-old Skye Wyatt had her voice stolen from her when her softball coaches outed her as a lesbian to her mother without her consent. Six years later, the now 21-year-old got the last word.
According to court documents, Wyatt, who was a student at Kilgore High School, was cornered in the school locker room by her two softball coaches, bullied into admitting she was gay, and was told she could not play in that day’s game unless she told her mother she was a lesbian. When Wyatt refused, the coaches called her mother, told her to meet them at the field, and told her themselves.
What the coaches did not expect was how Wyatt’s mother, Barbara Wyatt, would react—she sued the school for violating her daughter’s right to privacy. And in early 2014, the school settled for $77,000. Wyatt’s lawyer, Jennifer Doan, deemed the case a “positive story” at the end of a “horrific experience” for her client.
“It sends a really important message,” Texas Civil Rights Project Legal Director Wayne Krause Yang, who was also involved in the case, told Yahoo Shine. “In this day and age, we have athletes coming out, and sexual orientation is front and center. Any school or entity that doesn’t educate its employees on privacy rights involving sexual orientation is opening itself up to danger.”
The settlement was reached less than two weeks before a scheduled trial. In addition to the financial compensation, Kilgore ISD has agreed to hold annual staff trainings on discrimination issues.