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.
I don’t know the race of the cheerleader, but it is pretty certain Rakheem is black, and you know that black jocks are a “special” breed.
The SOB should have never been allowed back on the team, but Sports in High School are more important than rape.
Did you read the full article? She was a mouthpiece for the school team.
>>No, the kid should no longer be playing basketball for that team.<<
That’s up to the people in his city to decide.
>>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 shed invested in the other members of the cheerleading team (likely not a small investment)?<<
She continued on the cheerleading team. That was her choice. The boy served his adjudicated sentence, so legally he’s OK. Her only option was to quit the team, the friendship and camaraderie with the other members of the cheerleading team would still be there.
Forcing her to cheer for someone she believes raped her is abhorrent, I agree but exactly what did the guy do to her? I don’t feel like going into all the details of sexual intercourse this morning but there’s other acts that are charged as rape these days. Was it one of these? I think so or else he’d still be in prison.
Maybe it is up to the people of his city. But it is a very sad commentary that the school sides with someone who plead out a rape charge instead of his victim. She has now been doubly victimized, while he may wind up with a scholarship. If that is justice by local standards, remind me not to move to that city.
Apparently winning basketball games is more important than the rape of a young woman.
“Justice” in that town is a sad sick joke - and apparently the people of the town WANT IT THAT WAY.
Sick sick sick.
This rapist should have castrated then shot.
I thought this was preposterous until I read the money quote, one line from the end of the article:
“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”
My brain can compartmentalize this issue into separate elements. The rape is not even the issue here. It is irrelevant. Her actions at the game are irrelevant. The issue is bain’s action and the frivolous lawsuit. I’d like to see a lot more of this.
So. I recall cheerleaders at out school and it was not uncommon to see one or two doing other things while cheers were going on. Getting pom poms out of the way or adjusting their outfits.
I wish she had just done stuff like that, or pretend coughing, sneezing... anything to avoid cheering for the person that admitted to assaulting her!
Why? So women will stop coming forward again?
I'm with you. Even if they had won in court, a lawyer would not have solved the problem. A fathers job is to solve the problem, and it's not hard to find the right solution.
>>Why? So women will stop coming forward again?<<
Read the whole story. This is not at all about the rape. That is a side story. This is about her frivolous lawsuit.
Raped again. First at the party, then by the school, then by the courts.
Parents should learn from this travesty to keep their daughters out of cheer-leading squads, mixed parties, and public schools if possible.
Does anyone consider it a double standard that we know the accused student’s name and see his picture, but his accuser’s identity is not revealed?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
The U.S. Supreme Court can’t be bothered with determining whether ObamaCare is legal but they do have time for this?
So a girl folds her arms and refuses to cheer and it gets all the way to the Supreme Court??? Ridiculous. We are toast as a country.
You have to wonder how cut and dried the sexual assault was. They were not able to get a conviction for it, and I wonder how close of a relationship this girl had with her cheerleading teammates - if it had been an acquaintance of mine, I would not hesitate to exercise my 1st amendment rights outside of the arena.
I would be tempted to smuggle in cheer cards saying RAPIST and have the cheerleading team hold them up when this individual took the court. That would have been interesting.
People are having a hard time focusing on what this story is about. The back story is the rape. Another back story is her refusing to applaud the player that attacked her.
The story is this: A person in a particular role refused to participate in her role because of a conscientious objection. The school removed her from the role because she would not carry it out. Now, she may have had a good reason for not carrying it out, but the mere fact that she didn’t carry it out gave them reason to remove her from that particular role.
So far so good?
Here is where it went south: She instigated a frivolous lawsuit for them removing her from the squad. She lost and the lawsuit was deemed frivolous, therefore she is liable for their court costs.
And the lawsuit WAS frivolous.
American society encourages brutal and lawless atheletes by winking at criminal behaviors.Nothing matters but that "our" team win!And the players on "your" team don't give a s--- about any of the fans.
Hasn't really changed from the days of the Roman circuses and gladiators.
I thought the victim’s identity was normally witheld. Also, she was juvenile (16) at the time of the attack. I’m guessing the perp was 18. Also, there were two other assailants with Rakheem whose identity I don’t think was released, but they all three jumped out of the bedroom window when others tried to force their way into the bedroom.
>>You have to wonder how cut and dried the sexual assault was. They were not able to get a conviction for it, and I wonder how close of a relationship this girl had with her cheerleading teammates - if it had been an acquaintance of mine, I would not hesitate to exercise my 1st amendment rights outside of the arena.
I would be tempted to smuggle in cheer cards saying RAPIST and have the cheerleading team hold them up when this individual took the court. That would have been interesting.<<
Yeah, me too. However, that has nothing to do with why she was ordered to pay the $45k. The rape is not even a part of this. It gives the public story a “hook” but it was not part of the court case. I’ve seen Judge Judy and Wapner a couple of times and it was comedic to see them listen to people bring up stuff that was completely irrelevant.
If I had been the judge in this case and the girl started saying, “but he raped me”, I would have said, “But it was your responsibility as a cheerleader to “cheer” if you cannot do that because you do not respect a team member, justly or unjustly, then you should not be on the squad. And you were justly removed for that very reason. Case dismissed. Oh, and this was frivolous in the first place so pay the other side’s attorney fees.”
It is stories like this that lead me to believe vigilantism is the only way to go, at times, because you cannot trust the justice system to give you justice.
If I were the father, I’d be tempted to level the school one night, once my daughter became 18.
Let’s see if the school can collect on that judgement.
A compelling argument indeed. As the parent of a girl who's on a squad I can tell you these girls represent the school, and the community. They are held to a higher standard and must sign agreements to conduct themselves appropriately.
But Rakheem Bolton should be held to the same standard. Why is this criminal on the team?
I’ve had an ongoing debate with one of my adult children over this case. There’s more to the story than this article covers. And a lot of detail not published anywhere.
Both the cheerleader and player should have been suspended from their respective teams well before the playoff game when she refused to cheer for Bolton individually. BOTH the cheerleader and players attended and got drunk at a party.
This case vs. the player was brought before a grand jury four times before they were able to get an indictment. That says the prosecutors didn’t have that solid a case.
That is probably because they were all drunk and she could not swear that what occurred was “rape rape” in the immortal words of Whoopi Goldberg. The cheerleader probably could not testify that what occurred, at the time, was with or without her permission. There was (apparently) no claim that the players had put anything in her drinks.
For all anyone knows, in her drunken stupor it was all OK on that drunken night, then the next day she cried ‘rape.’ The prosecutors eventually got the indictment because she was a minor. That is the danger one confronts in getting drunk.
“people think lawsuits are always the best recourse”
because it brings national attention
And you’re a mouthpiece for idiots. May someone in your family be treated like her.
Amen. The thought process that athletes (and not even a professional one in this case) should get continued protective treatment while his victim should be coerced into cheering for him is sickening.
I'm glad she got a judgment and only disappointed that it wasn't enough to bankrupt this corrupt gubmint school system
She is long past being the “accuser” and he the “accused” at this point.
He admitted his guilt - and they declined to punish him in any meaningful way.
I agree with you. I was stating an alternate course of action for the girl.
I am amazed at what sports obsessed people are willing to ignore to see their team win. I am not saying this is the case here - I don’t know enough about the sexual encounter.
I remember cheering really hard for Duke the year they won the National Title with Christian Laettner, and I did not want to see him suspended for stomping on another player. He should have been suspended, and I hope my feelings never cloud my judgement again.
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