Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cheerleader Required to Cheer for Man Who Assaulted Her

This from Ms Magazine:
If someone assaulted you, would you want to then cheer for his performance on a basketball court? A 16-year-old Texas high school student sure didn’t.

High school football star Rakheem Bolton and two others were indicted for sexual assault of a child–identified only as H.S.–at a post-game party in 2008. According to H.S.–a fellow student and cheerleader at Silsbee High–Bolton, football player Christian Rountree and another juvenile male forced her into a room, locked the door, held her down and sexually assaulted her. When other party-goers tried to get into the room, two of the men fled through an open window, including Bolton, who left clothing behind. Bolton allegedly threatened to shoot the occupants of the house when the homeowner refused to return his clothes.

This from OnPoint:

The cheerleader, identified only as H.S., sued the principal of Silsbee (Texas) High School and other officials after they removed her from the school's cheerleading squad because she refused to cheer for Rakheem Bolton when he took free throws during a basketball game in February 2009. Bolton had allegedly assaulted her at an off-campus party the previous October.

Under Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969), students cannot be punished merely for expressing their personal views on the school premises unless school authorities have reason to believe that such expression will “substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students.”

“It seems blatantly oppressive for Defendants to condition H.S.’ participation in [the cheerleading] program on whether she cheers for her rapist when he was being individually rewarded for having been allegedly fouled in a game,” her attorney, Larry Watts of Missouri City, Texas, said in a brief. Bolton is no Kobe Bryant and the Silsbee High School team is not the Lakers!”But in a Sept. 16 opinion, the 5th Circuit showed the same indifference to H.S.'s ordeal as the school officials.


Anonymous said...

Silsbee High School officials should be held accountable for their actions. Richard Bain, Jr., the superintendent of schools, allegedly ordered H.S. to cheer for her attacker. Why don’t you tell him what you think? Here’s his contact information: Richard Bain Jr., Superintendent, Silsbee Independent School District, 415 Highway 327 West, Silsbee, TX, 77656;; (409) 980-7800

And you can contact the school’s new principal, Eldon Franco, to demand that H.S. be reinstated on the squad: Eldon Franco, Principal, Silsbee High School, 1575 Highway 96 North, Silsbee, TX, 77656-4799;; (409) 980-7800

natalie_fultz said...

I think it was wrong for her to be removed from her team. She obviously felt very unsafe and uncomfortable in participating in that event and from them to remove her from her team doesn't show good leadership at the school. School's are supposed to provide safe environments for kids to be in and by removing her from her team, it was basically saying that she had to participate in an unsafe environment in which she didn't feel comfortable which is wrong.

-Natalie Fultz

Derek said...

I agree, the officials at this school dropped the ball. H.S. shouldn't have been removed from her team for not cheering for him, in fact I don't think that she should have been in that situation. Her attacker should have been expelled from the school and not allowed to participate in athletics to begin with.