Cheerleader who wouldn’t cheer for her attacker loses court case, must pay school $45,000 in legal fees
May 3, 2011, 11:04 AM EDT
The Supreme Court refused to review the case of a high school cheerleader who was kicked off the squad for refusing to cheer for the basketball player she said had raped her. And as a lovely parting gift, the girl’s family must now repay the school $45,000 in legal fees for what a lower court termed as a frivolous lawsuit. Way to harsh our Bin Laden buzz, America.
You probably remember the Silsbee High School (Texas) cheerleading case. A then-cheerleader for the school was dismissed from the squad for refusing to cheer for the basketball player she said had raped her. H.S., as she is identified, is now in college, but she appealed the school’s ruling all the way to the Supreme Court. And on Monday the Court declined to review her appeal, nearly two years after the original incident.
Rakheem Bolton was accused of sexually assaulting the 16-year-old at a party. He was eventually convicted of misdemeanor assault, and got probation, a fine, and had to attend anger management classes.
H.S. said that the school at first told her to avoid Bolton and to refrain from attending homecoming activities, which she refused to do. She had been booted off the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for Bolton by name during a basketball game. The specific cheer was: “Two, four, six, eight, ten, come on, Rakheem, put it in.” No, I’m not making that up.
She was dismissed from the team for her actions. “As a team, I cheered for them as a whole. When he stepped up to the free-throw line, it didn’t feel right for me to have to cheer for him after what he did to me,” she said.
A federal appeals court ruled in September that the cheerleader was speaking for the school, not herself, and had no right to remain silent when called on to cheer the athlete by name.
The Supreme Court denied review of the case Monday without comment.
The family’s lawyer, Laurence Watts, said the ruling means students who try to exercise their right of free speech can be punished for refusing to follow “insensitive and unreasonable directions.”
And as a reward for trying to stick up for herself and not buckle to the pressures of authority, bureaucracy and male chauvinism, the girl’s parents receive a $45,000 bill for legal expenses. It’s a terrific byproduct of our legal system, wherein victims are cowered into keeping quiet by the prospect of negative publicity and extreme financial hardship. I guess that’s what it means when people say our freedom isn’t free.
Cheerleader required to cheer for man who assaulted her [Ms. Blog]
Cheerleader who wouldn’t root for assailant loses [San Francisco Chronicle]
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