Many children are subjected to shame and ridicule about their sexuality, including at school. In this case, a sports coach told a student she was a lesbian because she didn't have "proper parents," having been raised by her brother. Besides being a ridiculous claim, homophobia is still a problem it today's world - so what do we do about it? Keep in mind, this was not in the United States. How would you handle a teacher bullying your sibling?
Didibimbim - the brother - reached out to Reddit for advice on how he should handle the situation.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Our mom passed away when 7 years ago when I was 20, and my sisters were 11 and 10 (dad passed away 7 years before that). Since then, it's just me and my little sisters, although I get help from our grandparents and aunt as well. It's not been easy but I think we're fine in general and we're all a happy family. I tend to get advice when I need it and this is when I need advice.
We live in a moderate place (not US), it's not the most liberal area but also not the most conservative area either. My sister came out as a lesbian last year and it's been a very smooth process actually. People close to us are generally very understanding and people who aren't really need no reason to be close to us. She hasn't had any problems at school about this until yesterday.
She's dating a girl (very nice girl, I know her parents) and apparently the sports coach noticed this. She asked if she's the girl who lives with her brother, and when my sister said yes, she basically said that "poor you, things like this can happen when kids don't have proper parents" in front of some other students. She was shocked and said her if she can elaborate. The coach said "it's not your fault honey, when you don't have a mother figure sh*t like this happens. They shouldn't give hothead boys custody of teenage girls. A real family should have adopted you when your mom died."
My sister was angry and said in front of everyone that she should try to be a better mom herself before making comments about other people's parents, that they all know her daughter is a junkie and give guys blowjobs for a joint. She kicked my sister out of the sports class. I have confirmed that this is happened from a couple of her friends parents (that's exactly what my sister told me as well).
I was planning to call the school today but they called me earliest thing in the morning themselves, asking me to come in person to discuss my sister's "behavior." I'm genuinely pissed off that a school staff made such a comment to my sister, let alone making comments about the quality of parenting that my sisters are receiving. I don't know how I should approach this issue. Any help is much appreciated.
tl;dr: Homophobic sport coach said my sister's homosexuality is because of "lack of proper parents". My sister said that her own daughter is a junkie and now the school wants to see me to talk about her behavior.
Address the teacher's "misconduct" directly - and bring a lawyer.Giphy
Get your cousin involved. Go to the meeting. Introduce your lawyer and say you are here to talk about teacher's misconduct. Redirect any conversation away from your sister and back to the teacher. Do not engage about your sister. You should also consider going to the press if your sister is okay with it.
EDIT: People are saying a lawyer is overkill. Here's why I suggest it. When you go in there, there will be multiple people from the school, and you. Your situation is sad and seems to be well known. "Backup" will give you confidence and reduce the chance of you getting bullied and intimidated down from addressing the teacher's behavior. It will also increase the likelihood of them taking your seriously instead of treating you like a child (they may see you as a child/peer to your sister, not an adult/parent).
And be prepared to file a formal complaint.Giphy
This is the approach I would take as well. Walk in there and make it immediately clear you are there to file a formal complaint against the teacher. Whenever they try to turn the lens onto what your sister say, you just calmly and forcefully say that is not the matter you came in to discuss. Not until you are fully satisfied that the matter of the teacher has been addressed (which may take more than the first meeting) do you even allow a discussion about your sister words to begin.
Emphasize you're her legal guardian and are responsible for her wellbeing.Giphy
I also wouldn't introduce myself as her brother, but I would introduce myself as her legal guardian (or OP's country's equivalent). Adds emphasis.
What the coach did was an "abuse of power."
F*ckin A. A teacher making comments about their student's sexuality is, to me, completely f*cked. I might call it an abuse of power. At the least, it's now how a teacher should treat or act around their students at all. A lawyer is totally valid and a good idea - teacher done f*cked up big time.
And may even constitute harassment.Giphy
It's already dirty. In America, a kid would probably jump on you for talking like that about their home lives. Who even brings up a kids death of their parents? In such a rude way? Sister showed incredible restraint, I'll tell you what. This is borderline harassment because of her sexuality. I would certainly lawyer up. Even more so than that, Big sister needs to open a dialogue in that school about gay kids. I'm sure her sister isn't the only one there. This coach can't go on talking to kids like this regarding their sexual preferences. Kids kill themselves over bullying, man.
One piece of advice was to ignore it - and bake a cake for his sister.Giphy
Give her a high five and bake her a cake. F*ck that lady.
Others were glad the sister stood up for herself.Giphy
I don't really have any good advice, but I am honestly proud of your sister. She stood up for herself. The coach said some stupid ignorant F*CKED up shit, and your sister gave a taste of her own medicine. The coach deserved it and your sister should NOT apologize for what she said. I wish I can give her a high five.
From what we're told, the coach is in no place to judge.Giphy
Your sister totally burned the coach in an epic fashion. Good for her. As far as the coach's reaction... I am not sure what else she could have done after losing face like that.
Your sister might need to get a list of witnesses available.
Others hinted that a media blitz could scare the school straight.
Rest in peace that coaches career if any media outlet gets a hold of that story.
At the very least, demand an apology.Giphy
You're in a strong position to put your foot down and call the school out on inappropriate comments and behaviour. Demand an apology from the teacher to your sister and tell the school you will consider dropping the issue.
If you're in the UK, teachers will likely buckle when faced with a calm but firm parent, and they'll likely want to sweep things under a rug paperwork wise.
An apology to your sister from the teacher is sufficient, and then let the teacher's own behavior be her undoing.
And record everything that is said.Giphy
"I'm here to discuss what action will be taken against the coach for her misconduct against my sister. We will not discuss my sister until I'm satisfied with how the coach's actions are handled. Since the coach's actions have been confirmed by others, I will also be going to the press with this."
Edit: Also, record the conversation, so they can't try to twist what you say.
Remember that the school is in the wrong.Giphy
Don't give the school an inch. Refuse to address your sister's behavior, only ask why the school thinks it is appropriate to employ a homophobe. The teacher was the adult here and acted like a complete sh*t. Make it about their completely inappropriate behavior.
But not everyone agreed - some say the school should be given a chance to fix the situation.Giphy
I'm really not okay with the amount of people telling OP to lawyer up or go to the press. The sports teacher was completely wrong in what she did, and needs to be punished and put through sensitivity training, but give the school system the chance to actually do that before you do something as damaging as what's being suggested. Schools in many countries are under enough political strain as it is without huge legal kerfuffles, and you can wind up doing more harm than good if your first response is to bring out the big guns.
Also, I'm going to disagree and point out that saying something shitty to somebody who said something shitty to you isn't really the right path. This is not defending the teacher at all - it's clear that nothing about what that teacher said or did was even a little okay - but it might be a teachable moment for your sister, as well.
Everyone agreed that the brother should stand his ground, though.Giphy
Go in and say the following. "I'm glad you are willing to meet to discuss this and I hope it is a sign of your willingness to take appropriate disciplinary action with coach douche bag (use real name, not douche bag) so we can all avoid a messy public lawsuit." Send panic into their core immediately. And then, don't back down.
In the end, he's being a good brother and his sister is lucky to have him.Giphy
You're an awesome man to step up to the plate the way you did. Good job!
Good luck with the school Big Bro. I am pleased your sister stood up to the bullying coach.