"Who's your daddy?"
That's what Gray-New Gloucester High School players were saying to a Yarmouth football player every time he got tackled, according to his parents.
But it wasn't a typical taunt, they said. This player was targeted with those words because he has two lesbian parents -- and the opposing coach allegedly told them to do it.
Gray-New Gloucester head coach Duane Greaton resigned this week after allegations surfaced that he had instructed his players to taunt an opposing player on the basis of his parents' sexual orientation.
“MSAD 15 takes concerns about the safety and security of students very seriously and does not tolerate threatening or discriminating behavior,” Superintendent Craig King said in an email that he issued Thursday to WMTW.
Tipped off by opponent
The boy's parents, Lynn and Stephanie Eckersley-Ray, said they were told about the coach's order before the game by parents from Gray-New Gloucester.
“We found out because some Gray parents and players stepped forward and we are extremely thankful to them,” Lynn Eckersley-Ray said. “They did what they could about it and we are appreciative and thankful for that.”
A letter to the school
Lynn and Stephanie Eckersley-Ray called the situation "extremely difficult" and "overwhelming." They wrote a letter to the school alleging that Greaton's taunting order was discriminatory.
“We are appalled by your coach’s behavior as it is not only the explicit targeting of a player, but it is also incredibly discriminatory and hate-laden in nature. It is our understanding that targeting is not acceptable per (Maine Principals’ Association, which governs Maine high school athletics) … rules and we certainly know that anti-discrimination, anti-bias, and hate-crime laws protect individuals in Maine," the letter read.
The parents are hoping to have a meeting with Gray-New Gloucester administration to further discuss ways the situation can be addressed in a productive and positive educational manner.