Fired coach addresses school board; National Center for Lesbian Rights may get involved

Posted on 01 Dec 2011 at 2:58pm
Williams.Nikki

Nikki Williams

I wasn’t able to make it to Lancaster on Wednesday for the meeting I told you about earlier this week, at which fired lesbian coach Nichole “Nikki” Williams and her supporters publicly addressed the board of directors at Life School. But Williams fiancee, Jen DeSaegher, forwarded the below email she sent to the couple’s friends recapping the meeting:

We left the meeting with the feeling that it went well. Mind you, it wasn’t an interactive discussion with the administration and the Board of Directors–so there wasn’t any feedback. The meeting was merely an opportunity for the public (and particularly Nikki) to share our thoughts on Nikki’s termination.

About 8-9 of us shared our thoughts in 3 minute increments (as allowed by the board. There was a 30 minute time limit).

What I found most touching, was that the board members seemed very receptive. They were attentive, and there was a certain type of peace in the room that is hard to describe. I truly attribute that to the prayers being sent our way–(especially those of my faithful mom, Jani DeSaegher–the most amazing prayer warrior I know).

I think the most meaningful moment, for many of us, was when Jan Boyce spoke. Jan is the mother of Kate, a student Nikki taught five years ago–during her first year of teaching (at Red Oak). Jan spoke of Nikki’s impact on her daughter’s life, and how she couldn’t be more proud that Nikki is her daughter’s role model. As Jan started to cry, Nikki did too, and it was definitely a bit of an emotional moment.

As far as what’s next? We actually don’t know. Our lawyer will likely submit one final letter, asking for the termination to be removed from her record. That was the primary focus during all of the speeches we presented yesterday.

We can’t thank you enough for the continued support, sweet thoughts, kindness, and awesome texts. Please continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of the Board Members (and in the hearts of Nikki & myself), that the matter will be resolved, and that Nikki will have the peace to move forward.

We know that everything happens for a reason, and we continue to believe and keep the faith. Thanks again for all of the support.

DeSaegher added the following in her email to me:

Overall, it really did feel like the board was listening. The feelings in the room were genuine, and they really were attentive. The looks on their faces were soft. There was a peace in the room. Of course [Life School HR Director] Charles Pulliam sat on the side and had a bit of a beaten look on his face. We wondered if once we left, the Board members would shut the door and say to him, “Listen…why did we bypass all of the progressive discipline here and go directly to a termination for someone who was so obviously loved, respected and revered? This has caused a huge mess. Was this really necessary?”

We’ll let you know what happens next, if anything.

Coincidentally, I received an email Wednesday from Helen Carroll, sports project director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who was seeking contact info for Williams after reading my original story about the case. “We would like to see if we could be of any help to Coach Williams,” Carroll wrote. “If you could even forward my contact information to her, that will at least give her the opportunity to talk to a legal organization that has a successful track record in dealing with school systems that operate in this manner.”

I’ve put them in touch, so I’m thinking we haven’t heard the last of this.

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