Skip to comments.Cheerleader must compensate school that told her to clap 'rapist'
Posted on 05/06/2011 9:07:43 AM PDT by Allinone69z
A teenage girl who was dropped from her high school's cheerleading squad after refusing to chant the name of a basketball player who had sexually assaulted her must pay compensation of $45,000 (£27,300) after losing a legal challenge against the decision.
The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a review of the case brought by the woman, who is known only as HS. Lower courts had ruled that she was speaking for the school, rather than for herself, when serving on a cheerleading squad meaning that she had no right to stay silent when coaches told her to applaud.
She was 16 when she said she had been raped at a house party attended by dozens of fellow students from Silsbee High School, in south-east Texas. One of her alleged assailants, a student athlete called Rakheem Bolton, was arrested, with two other young men.
In court, Bolton pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour assault of HS. He received two years of probation, community service, a fine and was required to take anger-management classes. The charge of rape was dropped, leaving him free to return to school and take up his place on the basketball team.
Four months later, in January 2009, HS travelled to one of Silsbee High School's basketball games in Huntsville. She joined in with the business of leading cheers throughout the match. But when Bolton was about to take a free throw, the girl decided to stand silently with her arms folded.
"I didn't want to have to say his name and I didn't want to cheer for him," she later told reporters. "I just didn't want to encourage anything he was doing."
Richard Bain, the school superintendent in the sport-obsessed small town, saw things differently. He told HS to leave the gymnasium. Outside, he told her she was required to cheer for Bolton. When the girl said she was unwilling to endorse a man who had sexually assaulted her, she was expelled from the cheerleading squad.
The subsequent legal challenge against Mr Bain's decision perhaps highlights the seriousness with which Texans take cheerleading and high school sports, which can attract crowds in the tens of thousands.
HS and her parents instructed lawyers to pursue a compensation claim against the principal and the School District in early 2009. Their lawsuit argued that HS's right to exercise free expression had been violated when she was instructed to applaud her attacker. But two separate courts ruled against her, deciding that a cheerleader freely agrees to act as a "mouthpiece" for a institution and therefore surrenders her constitutional right to free speech. In September last year, a federal appeals court upheld those decisions and announced that HS must also reimburse the school sistrict $45,000, for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit against it.
"As a cheerleader, HS served as a mouthpiece through which [the school district] could disseminate speech namely, support for its athletic teams," the appeals court decision says. "This act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, HS was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily."
The family's lawyer said the ruling meanst that students exercising their right of free speech can end up punished for refusing to follow "insensitive and unreasonable directions".
Dad should have shown his appreciation for the piece of garbage via .223
I feel bad for the girl, it sounds like she got put in a rotten situation. But we have a litigious society and I just don't understand why so many people think lawsuits are always the best recourse,
This doesn’t end here. The inept (at first glance) judicial stance may in fact make it worse.
Only use the .223 to immobilize. A pair of bolt cutters, pruning shears or pinking shears can do the real work.
I agree with the Court. She could have dropped off the cheerleading team.
Let’s see, the rapist gets two years probation, some community service and the victim is to applaud the perp.
They ought to just close this joke of a school down.
Yes, there is steps to follow, isn’t there?
Thank you for posting your whole blog post. I clicked through.
No, the kid should no longer be playing basketball for that team.
They could have spent that $45,000 on a group of large men to go “visit” Rakheem.
Could she and her family have agreed to stop paying taxes to support the alleged rapist and the cheerleading team? Could she continue to maintain the friendship and camaraderie she’d invested in the other members of the cheerleading team (likely not a small investment)?
If the answer to these, or similar questions, is no, then forcing her to cheer for someone she believes raped her is abhorrent. In a small way, it reminds me of the Mädchenorchester von Auschwitz.
Why should she have to cave in and give up what she wanted to do because someone else assaulted her?
I agree. It was all about keeping that POS on the basketball team.
How about ‘visit’ you?
My name is not “Rakheem”... thank goodness, (what a stupid name).
Some of his exploits could get him drafted into the NBA or NFL
In court, Bolton pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour assault of HS. He received two years of probation, community service, a fine and was required to take anger-management classes. The charge of rape was dropped, leaving him free to return to school and take up his place on the basketball team.Misdemeanour assault is what you get if you push a kid into a locker, or shoot a spit-wad at them, or push their books out of their hands. From the school's perspective, that is how they had to treat the guy. He is not a rapist, he is not a sexual predator.
Since clearly the school district does not have rules against minors who have misdemeanor convictions from attending or participating in school activities, there was nothing for them to do. The couldn't act like he was guilty of a major assault on the cheerleader, because they had no proof of that -- in fact, we have no proof of that either, only her story and the clear indication that SOMETHING happened since he did plead guilty.
It is possible he got a sweat deal because he was really good at sports. I don't know, none of the articles on this subject have mentioned how he got the plea deal -- and I don't remember a discussion of the facts. I do remember he denied the charge.
Now, if I were the school, I might have allowed her to be on the cheer squad, and not show up for basketball games (although there is no indication that he didn't also play other sports).
But really, at some point you need the cheer squad to work together, and they can't have their own agenda. If we presume she is telling the truth, we can see her point, but if it was something else, it isn't much different from any number of things that could cause people to not want to cheer.
Would you excuse a cheerleader who caught the guy cheating? Who knocked her up and then dumped her? Who dated her but then tried to convert her to his religion, and trashed her faith?
None of those are as bad as being raped. But we don't know she was raped, and we know the school couldn't treat it like a rape. She certainly had avenues within the school to pursue bullying and other charges within the school system -- I don't know if she did this. I know my son just went through one of those for a childish physical prank; no cops, but he was suspended from a club for a month. I would think an assault might mean something, although it was off-campus.
Anyone else thing we have lost complete control over our schools?
So if the school demanded she cheer of BHO she would be obliged? Oh wait some schools already do that. Well how about if she had to cheer for UBL as a “mouthpiece” for the school?
WARNING for those who agree with the courts and the rest of us, you might be surrendering more than your 1st Amendment rights when you sign anything. I don't recall anywhere in the Constitution where the government can surreptitiously eliminate your rights.
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