Cheerleader Booted for Refusing to Cheer Attacker
Teen's duty was to 'support athletes,' court rules
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 28, 2010 3:43 AM CDT
IMG_4184   (©Monica's Dad)

(Newser) – A former cheerleader will continue to press legal action against her Texas high school for booting her off her squad when she refused to cheer for the star athlete who she says sexually assaulted her. In addition, when she complained about harassment by her attacker's friends as she entered the school cafeteria, officials just recommended she avoid the area, says the victim, now 18 and identified in court documents as "HS." School officials said the boy wasn't convicted of sexual assault while the girl was on the squad, even though she had filed a complaint, reports ABC News. "At that point, insofar as anyone knew, he wasn't a rapist," said a spokesman. "It frustrates me," said the teen. "All I've wanted all along is for somebody to say they've done wrong."

A federal appellate court ruled recently that the victim had no basis for a First Amendment complaint in the case. Her only role as a cheerleader was to "serve as a mouthpiece" through which the school "could disseminate speech—namely, support for its athletic teams," the court ruled. Silsbee High School "had no duty to promote HS's message by allowing her to cheer or not cheer, as she saw fit." Her attacker plea-bargained a felony sexual assault indictment to misdemeanor assault and served a one-year suspended sentence, two years of community service, and a $2,500 fine. "I have no hard feelings toward the girl," the athlete told a local radio station. "It was a misunderstanding."

 

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