Court Says Sexually Assaulted Child Should Still Cheer For Her Attacker
Even though a cheerleader has been sexually assaulted, she must still perform her “contractually-obligated” duty to cheer for the alleged perpetrator.
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans handed down the verdict following the then-16-year-old girl’s (known in the proceedings as “H.S.”) claim that her dismissal from the southwest Texas cheerleading squad in Silsbee was a violation of her right to free speech. After H.S. was assaulted at an off-campus party, she refused to cheer for her attacker (Bolton) as he played on the school’s basketball team while the case was pending. Even though her then-alleged attacker subsequently pleaded guilty, she was dismissed from the squad for her actions.
The Fifth Circuit is considered one of the most conservative courts in the country, as Think Progress notes:
Yet, even in a circuit known for its knee-jerk ideology, the cheerleader rape case was heard by an unusually radical panel of three judges. Judges Emilio Garza and Edith Clement were both on President George W. Bush’s “short list” for potential Supreme Court nominees…
Also deciding this case was George W. Bush appointee Priscilla Owen (pictured).
The Court held that:
“As a cheerleader … H.S. was contractually required to cheer for the basketball team, whose roster included Bolton…. H.S. served as a mouthpiece through which [the school] could disseminate speech — namely, support for its athletic teams…. [H.S.’s refusal to cheer] constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, H.S. was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.”
H.S. may have chosen to be on the cheer squad, but she did not choose to be attacked, and the school is responsible to protect her from continued emotional distress. In Tinker v. Des Moines, the United States Supreme Court held that students do not “shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door.” Apparently that is no longer true. In a more sinister light, victims are not entitled to protection from those who victimize them. If H.S.’s attacker had been a teacher, would she have been required to attend his class? After all, students are obligated to attend school; their participation is not voluntary…
Corporations have the same rights as individuals, and an individual’s rights are apparently subordinate to the organization. The victim, now 18, speaks simply and directly to the heart of the issue:
“What I want out of the whole thing is for somebody to admit they were wrong.”Click here for reuse options!
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