To Cheerlead or Not to Cheerlead
May 6, 2011 by admncc
First off, let me take a minute to apologize to my loyal readers for being MIA for the past few weeks. My family was in the process of moving and I was up to my ears with boxes. And things with my day job have been very busy as well. Blogging is a just a hobby, so unfortunately, sometimes it comes in second.
But today’s topic is a great one to get back into the swing with. It’s surely one that everyone will have an opinion on. It involves the story of an 18-year-old student at Silsbee High School in Texas. The female student was raped at a house party. “One of the men involved pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault and was allowed to continue playing on Silsbee’s basketball team. When it came time to cheer this player during a game, HS (this is how she is identified in court documents) refused to cheer, and simply remained silent.”
That’s when the school got involved. “Richard Bain, the school’s superintendent, ordered HS, then 16, to cheer or be expelled from the squad. She refused and was expelled, and she and her family filed suit in Texas courts on free speech grounds.”
Not only did two state courts rule against her, but a federal appeals court decided that her suit was “frivolous” and ordered her to pay $45,000 in legal fees to the school district. “The U. S. Supreme Court on Monday, refused to hear the case, letting the appeals court ruling stand…leaving HS and her family on the hook for $45,000.” You can read the rest of the story here.
I think this story leads to any number of discussions. First, why was a rapist (or even a convicted felon) allowed to continue playing for the high school’s basketball team? Second, could it be argued that the school’s officials should have anticipated something like this would happen, considering they’re the ones that allowed the student to continue playing basketball and knew that HS was a cheerleader? Third, why would the superintendent take the “cheer or be expelled” stance? So you tell me…should freedom of speech reign true here or should the family now have to cough up $45k even though their daughter was one who was victimized?