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 Cheerleader must compensate school ... 
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Post Cheerleader must compensate school ...
... that told her to clap 'rapist'

This story's got a fair bit of coverage in the UK - generally highly critical of the school and the court decision - and I wondered what peoples' take was:
Quote:
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".


I guess I can understand the court decision based on the 'free speech' argument. The approach by the school seems disgraceful to me, though.


May 6th, 2011, 11:07 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
Wow... that is crazy. When did frivolous things like sports become more important than things that really matter?

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May 6th, 2011, 11:15 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
There has got to be more to this case, just makes zero sense and pisses me off. Sure sports and cheerleading in Texas are a big deal, but even here rape is a much bigger deal.

Boo Supreme Court!

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May 6th, 2011, 11:18 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
The fact they made her pay for a frivolous lawsuit is what gets me. Dismissing it, one thing, making her pay... wow.

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May 6th, 2011, 11:24 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
Read it again. They're not making her pay a frivolous lawsuit, they're saying she has to pay back the lawsuit she won because that was frivolous.

She has every right not to cheer for someone, but its the job of the cheerleaders. She had the choice to do so or be kicked off. Being a member of a cheerleading squad isn't a right. She sued the principal, but never should have won. You don't pay 45k to be on team, so why would she be given 45k for being kicked off. We might disagree with the school's decision, but legally, there's nothing wrong with what they did.

It shouldn't have been a free speech issue. Cheerleaders role is to cheer for the team. No one was making her be on the team. She has every right to be upset about what happened to her, but the school isn't responsible for what that kid did. Any monetary damages should have been in a civil suit against that kid. The school is obeying the law by allowing him to play because he wasn't found guilty of rape.


May 6th, 2011, 11:54 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
Guess I read that wrong... hope they didn't spend it! Ouch!

Overall, I agree that no one should win money for things that didn't cost them that. Example, a guy in SB goes around to businesses and tries to find bathrooms that are not equipped with handicap access. He then sues for hundreds of thousands of dollars because he was inconvienenced...

I hate suits for cash that have no real monetary involvement whatsoever. I agree she shouldn't have gotten the $41,000 initially. I do not agree though that the school should be insensitive to her being on the team and refusing to cheer her rapist. It isn't a right, but it is clearly bad form and IMO putting significantly less important things over real life issues. Just tell her to quitely not cheer and leave it be. It punishes the rape victim and not the rapist.

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May 6th, 2011, 12:08 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
FAKE! No way this is real. No. Fricken. Way.

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May 6th, 2011, 12:32 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
Google news search seems to make it real:

http://www.google.com/search?q=cheerlea ... d58bcd9ce3

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May 6th, 2011, 12:42 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
man I refuse to believe thhat 3 different court systems feel that being in a non profit cheerleading after school program forgoes your first ammendment rights by so much that financial compensation is due!

There is either MUCH more to this story or it's a fake.

Not to mention the laws reguarding sex crimes involving minors. although to be fair I dont know what the age of consent is in Texas....Pablo can probably best anser that one. But here in Michigan where it's 17, the boy rapist wouold be forced from normal schools and put into adult education..and then have to live the rest of his life living a certain distance from any school.

Sorry I'm having a real hard time swallowing this story. There is no way Texas is THAT F'd!

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May 6th, 2011, 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
regularjoe12 wrote:
There is no way Texas is THAT F'd!


Dude... Pablo lives there and you make this statement!? ;)

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May 6th, 2011, 12:56 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
No way, no how they could make me pay it!

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May 6th, 2011, 1:17 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
This is a true story and I've been following it for some time now. While being "forced" to cheer for her alleged rapist seems unethical on the surface, it's not "forced" by any means. The girl had the right to leave the cheerleading squad at any moment. Why didn't she? By becoming a cheerleader, she agreed to cheer for the team and all members of the team. If she was incapable of doing that for whatever reason, then she shouldn't be a cheerleader. Being a cheerleader isn't a "right" by any stretch of the imagination. Just another frivolous lawsuit IMO.

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May 7th, 2011, 8:04 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
while that all makes good sense....where does the 41K come in?? how is that even close to right?


Personally I think this all could have been resolved had the parents done what they should have, and made a mandatory restraining order part of the prosectution settlement....or filed for one shortly thereafter.

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May 7th, 2011, 9:50 am
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
The cheerleader's family is paying the $45K to reimburse the school district's legal fees because they filed a frivolous lawsuit. Personally, I'd like to see more judgements like this. It would make stupid people think twice before suing McDonalds because their coffee was too hot and crap like that. Those costs are passed on to the rest of us whether we like it or not. In this case, taxpayer dollars were used to defend the lawsuit instead of fixing roads or helping those truly in need. Screw those that want to make a quick dime at the taxpayer's expense because their feelings were hurt.

As you can tell, I'm not the most PC guy on the planet, but I don't care. Some people need to put their big girl panties on before bitching about frivolous bullshit like this. Boo Hoo.

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May 7th, 2011, 12:23 pm
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Post Re: Cheerleader must compensate school ...
slybri19 wrote:
This is a true story and I've been following it for some time now. While being "forced" to cheer for her alleged rapist seems unethical on the surface, it's not "forced" by any means. The girl had the right to leave the cheerleading squad at any moment. Why didn't she? By becoming a cheerleader, she agreed to cheer for the team and all members of the team. If she was incapable of doing that for whatever reason, then she shouldn't be a cheerleader. Being a cheerleader isn't a "right" by any stretch of the imagination. Just another frivolous lawsuit IMO.

Neither is being cheered for, or being on the basketball team, a "right" by any stretch of the imagination.

If having every player cheered for is an essential part of what goes on, I would have thought the better way to deal with the impass would have been to take the rapist off the basketball team than to take the victim off the cheer squad.


May 7th, 2011, 12:49 pm
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