Friday, January 13, 2012

Fired Lesbian Coach and School Reach Settlement

In November, I posted an article about a lesbian high school coach who was fired from her teaching and coaching position. Here is that post.

Apparently the coach and the school have reached a settlement agreement. It is unclear from the article what the terms of the settlement are, but I hope that, at the very least, Nikki was able to have her letter of termination rescinded so that she can find another teaching/coaching position.

As I pointed out in the original post about this situation, teachers and coaches in Texas who are fired or discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression have no legal recourse. It was only due to the protests of students and parents at the school and pressure from LGBT advocates and others who were appalled and outraged at the school's discriminatory actions that anything close to a happy ending came of this.

It is probably too much to ask that the school officials who fired Nikki learned anything or changed their policies. Maybe they learned that they can no longer count on the silence of LGBT educators when they are discriminated against. Maybe they learned that most students and parents care more about the quality and integrity of their teachers and coaches than they do about their sexual orientation or gender identity. I suppose that is a start.

I hope Nikki will find another position coaching and teaching where she will be appreciated and where she can continue to inspire the young people she works with.


Wyman Stewart said...

“Due to ongoing inquiries from the media and public, LifeSchool of Dallas and Nichole Williams are issuing the following joint statement,” reads an email sent to Dallas Voice tonight by Williams’ fiancee, Jen DeSaegher. “Ms. Williams and LifeSchool have discussed and amicably resolved all concerns related to Ms. Williams’ previous employment with LifeSchool. Both LifeSchool and Ms. Williams would like to thank students, parents and the community for their support, encouragement and involvement. The LifeSchool leadership team wishes the best for Ms. Williams’ and her future endeavors. Likewise, Ms. Williams would like to thank LifeSchool and its students and parents for the opportunity to coach and teach.”

The above quote reports a much better outcome than most people in America receive, when terminated for no apparent reason or for perceived minor company rules violations. Usually, a lawyer won't even take your case. A major reason her outcome is better than most, is she's Lesbian, with a national PR machine behind her, backing her. I would argue she used being Gay to achieve her ends more than the school used her being Lesbian to terminate her to achieve their ends.

The sad part: Both sides took intransigent positions. Then, once both saw the time, expense, and disasterous outcome of a hollow court victory; this, forced both parties to accept reality. A simple reprimand, to be expunged after a period of time, without incident, would have sufficed.

Conclusion: Neither side should be proud in this case.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wyman - Good comments as usual. Sorry the sisterhood isn't engaging. You should remember they're at war and don't want to talk to the enemy.

That said, I finally broke down and bought Pat's book on amazon and have been through it once. It's very enlightening as to exactly what her pitch is. In particular I found it interesting that she spent a good amount of time in the book trying to convince straight women that their interests were aligned with their lesbian sisters in overcoming how women are treated in sports. The truth is most straight women don't see it that way and frankly aren't real excited about the disproportionate percentage of lesbians in intercollegiate and pro women's sports. Most straight women understand that this high percentage of lesbians in sports as compared to the general population is one of the most important aspects in holding the popularity of women's sports from wider acceptance.

She also justifies and rationalizes the dating opportunities present in women's sports which frankly everyone already suspected and she validated. I guess she's assuming not many straight guys would read the book. Not exactly confidence strengthening if you are preparing to send a daughter or niece to participate in intercollegiate sports.

Wyman Stewart said...

I had no idea Pat Griffin had written a book! Maybe I can check it out at the library.

Anonymous said...

"Strong Women, Deep Closets" 1998 pub by Human Kinetics. isbn 0-88011-729-x. I'd send you my copy but I'm going to read it again because I couldn't believe that she stepped up to the romantic opportunity concerns that most parents are already not cool with. I'm going to read it again and take better notes.

Get it on Amazon for like 25 bucks or you probably can check it out at a library if you're in a relatively large metro.

Pat's a major player in the lesbian sports equality space and this book is part of what put her there.

per head service said...

When they do that kind of things it is pretty obvious that it was related to her sexual preference.