Ask the Experts

Recourse for ADHD Harassment

“After my teenage daughter told her softball coach that she has ADHD, he started belittling and harassing her. I asked him to stop, but that didn’t help. In fact, things got so bad that my daughter quit the team in disgust. Do we have any recourse?”

How to Get Your ADHD Middle School Child to Commit to Exercising
How to Get Your ADHD Middle School Child to Commit to Exercising

Sounds like it’s time to request a meeting with the school principal — but don’t show up unprepared. With your daughter’s help, prepare a written report detailing the harassment, along with a complete timeline. Make it clear that the trouble began after she disclosed her ADHD, and make sure that the principal understands that ADHD is a medical condition.

Were any adults present when hurtful comments were made? A referee, for example, or maybe the parent of a teammate? If so, contact them and ask if you can list them as witnesses. Your write-up should consist only of verifiable facts. Emotional language will only undermine your complaint. As you present your report to the principal, ask, “Is this how the school wants its coaches to treat students?”

As for your daughter, help her find another softball team to join or another sport to play. Before she commits, ask team members and their parents about the coach’s style, and observe a few practices or games.

By the way, there’s an upside to this situation. It will help your daughter learn how to be her own advocate.