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Texsox

You be the judge

  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Did the coaches improperly violate the student's right?

    • Yes, they should not have told the mother her child was dating another female.
      12
    • No, they needed to tell the mother about a potentially illegal relationship.
      4
    • Not that simple
      3


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http://www.tcta.org/legal/decisions/court_...dent_s_sexual_o

 

Court allows lawsuit to proceed to trial after district discloses student’s sexual orientation

A 16-year-old student who played on the softball team alleged that two coaches led her into an empty locker room after a game, locked the door, and questioned her about her relationship with an 18-year-old female. They also accused her of spreading rumors that the 18-year-old was the ex-girlfriend of one of the coaches. The student alleged that the coaches yelled at her, called her a liar, threatened to sue her for slander, and told her that she could not play on the softball team until they spoke with her mother. The student admitted that she and the older girl were having a sexual relationship, even though at that time, they had arranged a date but were not yet “dating.” Shortly after this incident, the coaches met with the student’s mother and revealed the student’s sexual orientation to her by telling her that the student was dating a girl whom the coaches described as her “girlfriend.” Prior to that time, the mother did not know that her daughter was homosexual.

 

The mother filed a lawsuit against the district, alleging that the coaches violated her daughter’s right to keep her sexual orientation private by disclosing her sexual orientation to her mother. The district responded by claiming that the reason the coaches spoke with the mother was to inform her that her daughter was in a potentially inappropriate, and possibly illegal, relationship with an adult. The school district filed a motion to dismiss the case without a trial, but the district court denied the request. In doing so, the court found that the student had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her sexual orientation and that the school district did not have a legitimate interest in disclosing the student’s sexual orientation to her mother. The case was allowed to proceed to trial.

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Seems like an easy decision. Possible abuse here between an adult and a child. They needed to report it to someone. Actually they should have called the police.

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QUOTE (Tex @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 07:23 AM)
Seems like an easy decision. Possible abuse here between an adult and a child. They needed to report it to someone. Actually they should have called the police.

I disagree...I voted otherwise.

 

Do you really think that a 16 year old dating an 18 year old is something the school district needs to concern itself most about? "Possible abuse between an adult and a child" is hardly how I would describe this situation, Tex.

 

This was clearly not about making sure this player was free from potential abuse and more about a coach settling some personal issue.

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Relevant law:

 

http://law.onecle.com/texas/penal/21.11.00.html

 

(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this

section that the actor:

(1) was not more than three years older than the victim

and of the opposite sex;

 

So, apparently, if it had been an 18yo male having sex with the 16yo, he'd be ok, but since it's same-sex, it's still statutory rape. Way to go, Texas.

 

Incorrect! maybe that's an outdated code I found first.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/docs/pe/htm/pe.22.htm

(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2):

(1) that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or

(2) that:

(A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:

(i) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or

(ii) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and

 

 

But, that aside, the article describes them only reporting that her daughter was dating a girl, not reporting potential abuse/rape. And it sounds like they cornered her and badgered her for a false confession.

Edited by StrangeSox

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Why doesn't that website contain any information whatsoever about the actual case number or anything you can use (school district, plaintiffs, defendants) to look it up?

 

edit: google-fu

 

http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonar...ntiality-l.html

 

http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldo...20111202586.xml

 

More detailed reports seem to indicate that there was no admission of a sexual relationship.

Edited by StrangeSox

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Defendants' Version of the Facts

 

Defendants argue that S.W. was openly gay for several years prior to the incident and never attempted to keep her sexuality secret. MOTION at 4. Moreover, Defendants argue that S.W. was not a serious athlete and regularly disregarded team rules, making it difficult for her to be coached. Id. at 5-6. Prior to joining the team, S.W. and Ms. Wyatt were required to sign a permission slip specifically limiting the persons with whom S.W. could ride to practice and games. Id. at 6. S.W. broke this rule by riding to practice with Ms. Nutt on at least one occasion. Id.

On March 3, 2009, the Coaches became aware of a rumor created by a note written by S.W. that claimed S.W. was dating Ms. Nutt, a person S.W. claimed to be Coach Newell's ex-girlfriend. Id. at 6-7. Id. at 7. When the Coaches heard the rumor, they took it upon themselves to confront S.W. for three reasons: (1) they believed that Ms. Nutt was a bad influence on S.W. because Ms. Nutt had previously talked about drinking and smoking marijuana; (2) they believed the fact that Ms. Nutt was eighteen-years-old and S.W. was sixteen "made any physical relationship between them a potential crime;" and (3) the rumors were "causing dissension on the softball team." Id. at 6-7.

During the March 3, 2009 confrontation, Defendants argue that they questioned S.W. about the note that started the rumor and asked if she was "involved" with Ms. Nutt. Id. at 7. At no point did the Coaches stand over S.W. Id. The Coaches also questioned S.W. about who she was riding with to practices. Id. S.W. lied and told them that she was riding with her grandmother when she was in fact riding with Ms. Nutt. Id. The Coaches then released S.W. Id.

 

It's not illegal for a 16 and an 18 year old to date. They don't claim knowledge of a physical relationship, and even in their version of the facts it seems like a petty, childish squabble on the part of the coaches.

 

With regards to the potential crime at issue, Plaintiff argues that the Coaches had no personal knowledge of any sexual contact between S.W. and Ms. Nutt and any belief by the Coaches of that was based on rumor and conjecture. RESPONSE at 13, 16. Moreover, while Defendants are technically correct that the Texas' statutory rape law generally makes it a crime for a person eighteen years of age or older to engage in a sexual activity with someone under the age of eighteen, the statute provides a clear and unmistakable affirmative defense for situations such as these. See TEX. PENAL CODE ANN. § 22.011(e) (West 2011) (absolving the actor from liability if the child was 14 years of age or older and the actor was not more than three years older than the victim at the time of the offense). Defendants' argument is further belied by their own actions: Plaintiff provides evidence that "Defendants . . . do not attempt to notify parents or authorities when heterosexual students [of] 16 years of age or less have romantic relationship with 18 year olds."
Edited by StrangeSox

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I don't think they did the right thing, but I wouldn't call it an invasion of her privacy either, especially if there was actual evidence that she was "openly gay for several years."

Edited by Jenksismybitch

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QUOTE (Jenksismyb**** @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:41 AM)
I don't think they did the right thing, but I wouldn't call it an invasion of her privacy either, especially if there was actual evidence that she was "openly gay for several years."

 

That's their assertion, but the judge isn't buying that claim. If she wasn't openly gay, then she absolutely has a right to privacy that they violated.

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QUOTE (Jenksismyb**** @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:41 AM)
I don't think they did the right thing, but I wouldn't call it an invasion of her privacy either, especially if there was actual evidence that she was "openly gay for several years."

Why does that matter? If the person hasn't told their parents?

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:45 AM)
It's hard to violate someone's privacy by disclosing public information.

But if the person hasn't told their parents, then the information is still private at some level, wouldn't you agree?

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QUOTE (Jenksismyb**** @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:41 AM)
I don't think they did the right thing, but I wouldn't call it an invasion of her privacy either, especially if there was actual evidence that she was "openly gay for several years."

Even if she was openly gay at school, that doesn't mean her mother knew or that she wanted her mother to know.

 

If it's not an invasion of her privacy to lock her in a room and threaten her, what would you call it? False imprisonment?

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QUOTE (iamshack @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:46 AM)
If it's not an invasion of her privacy to lock her in a room and threaten her, what would you call it? False imprisonment?

A way for Craig James to build support for his campaign?

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QUOTE (Balta1701 @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:46 AM)
But if the person hasn't told their parents, then the information is still private at some level, wouldn't you agree?

 

Potentially but that's a lot more of a grey area both ethically (she appeared openly gay to them, could they honestly know or expect that the mother didn't know if they had legitimate reasons for informing on the relationship) and legally.

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:49 AM)
Potentially but that's a lot more of a grey area both ethically (she appeared openly gay to them, could they honestly know or expect that the mother didn't know if they had legitimate reasons for informing on the relationship) and legally.

They used the fact that her mother did not know as their main leverage in the situation..."we'll tell your mother unless..."

 

It's not for the f***ing school district to determine what is "openly" gay or not openly gay...they are clearly ill-equipped to be involved in these matters and the law recognizes that.

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QUOTE (iamshack @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:46 AM)
Even if she was openly gay at school, that doesn't mean her mother knew or that she wanted her mother to know.

 

If it's not an invasion of her privacy to lock her in a room and threaten her, what would you call it? False imprisonment?

I tend to agree with shack here. This did not qualify as abuse as described, so the coaches were clearly wrong in telling the parents such a thing. And besides, locking her in and badgering her is just wrong no matter what.

 

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QUOTE (iamshack @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:46 AM)
Even if she was openly gay at school, that doesn't mean her mother knew or that she wanted her mother to know.

 

If it's not an invasion of her privacy to lock her in a room and threaten her, what would you call it? False imprisonment?

 

You can't invade privacy when the information is already disclosed on a wide level. Reasonable efforts at keeping the information private must be made. If she was openly gay at school and everywhere else outside the home, then these coaches may not have known that it was being kept private from the parents. But that's for a jury to decide.

 

And yeah this is false imprisonment, and probably intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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QUOTE (Balta1701 @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:45 AM)
Why does that matter? If the person hasn't told their parents?

 

You can't very well argue something is private if it's already public knowledge. Whether or not a specific person knows about it doesn't change that.

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QUOTE (G&T @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:58 AM)
You can't invade privacy when the information is already disclosed on a wide level. Reasonable efforts at keeping the information private must be made. If she was openly gay at school and everywhere else outside the home, then these coaches may not have known that it was being kept private from the parents. But that's for a jury to decide.

 

And yeah this is false imprisonment, and probably intentional infliction of emotional distress.

If her own mother was unaware, how widely was it disclosed?

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QUOTE (G&T @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:58 AM)
You can't invade privacy when the information is already disclosed on a wide level. Reasonable efforts at keeping the information private must be made. If she was openly gay at school and everywhere else outside the home, then these coaches may not have known that it was being kept private from the parents. But that's for a jury to decide.

 

And yeah this is false imprisonment, and probably intentional infliction of emotional distress.

 

Re the privacy, at least in Illinois I don't think that would be considered a viable cause of action. "Privacy" requires calculable damages - i.e., a company allows your ss #, address, credit cards, whatever out and your identity gets stolen. Here we have sexual orientation that may have already been out of the bag. What's the damage other than having to deal with your parents (and no, the emotional part isn't recoverable as damages)?

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 09:49 AM)
Potentially but that's a lot more of a grey area both ethically (she appeared openly gay to them, could they honestly know or expect that the mother didn't know if they had legitimate reasons for informing on the relationship) and legally.

 

In a school setting, kids have zero expectation of privacy. The courts have pretty well vetted that.

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QUOTE (iamshack @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:00 AM)
If her own mother was unaware, how widely was it disclosed?

 

I don't think keeping that a secret would be all that difficult for a high schooler. I feel like my parents didn't know about 90% of the dumb s*** I did back in the day.

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QUOTE (southsider2k5 @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 11:03 AM)
In a school setting, kids have zero expectation of privacy. The courts have pretty well vetted that.

I disagree...sexual orientation is like the holy grail of privacy, in any setting...they're screwed.

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QUOTE (iamshack @ Feb 15, 2012 -> 10:05 AM)
I disagree...sexual orientation is like the holy grail of privacy, in any setting...they're screwed.

 

It doesn't matter. Legally schools can do pretty much whatever they want.

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