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Author Topic: Cheerleader Billed $45k After Not Cheering On Her Rapi...sorry, Assaulter  (Read 3505 times)

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Offline Noelle

When I went to school I didn't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, so free speech isn't completely absent in school.  And being a cheer leader isn't quite like being a football player.  If a football player refuses to pass the ball to a certain person, then the function of the team suffers.  What harm was there in this girl not cheering for the boy?  Did it make the team lose?  She performed the rest of her duties.  She cheered on the team as a whole up until that point.  Her only issue came when it was just him, and I can't blame her.

The girl didn't just refuse to say the guy's name -- she stopped and stood with her arms crossed. That is disrupting the purpose of cheerleading, which is to (as the lawsuit established) be a mouthpiece for the school and promote enthusiasm and excitement. If one cheerleader is standing their with her arms crossed, it's hard to argue that the rest of the squad doesn't suffer and then the crowd is paying more attention to the one cheerleader who isn't doing anything than the others who are trying to get them fired up.

It's not to say that I blame her, certainly her reluctance is understandable and she has the right to express that -- which she did. She lost in court not just once, but twice in attempt to force the school to let her back on the team to...continue to stand there with her arms crossed every time the team cheers for the one guy. I'd think it more understandable to fight for the guy to get kicked off the football team -- and I do think the guy should've been booted from the football team and any other extracurricular activities due to even his misdemeanor charge, but in the situation we're given, for whatever reason he stayed on the team and that's the reality we're dealing with.

Quote
No, I don't think it was the school's responsibility to do anything.  That's what the police are for.  However, how is it fair that he gets to keep playing, and she has to quit something she might love, when he was the one that did something wrong?  And obviously, if they sued over this, getting kicked off really upset her.  It was one instance, and she had a good reason, so they should have let it go.

I'll repeat for emphasis that I agree with you that I think it would've made more sense that the guy lose his right to participate in extracurriculars due to the misdemeanor charge that did come out of this. What I don't agree with is why she sued twice; the girl didn't just sue to be let back on the team, she sued for the right to stand there with her arms crossed and blatantly not participate. You know that would sound absurd in any other arena, such as my football example. Why shouldn't a football player be allowed the same protest rights, then, if he doesn't want to perform something such as passing the ball to one of his teammates? He's got plenty of other teammates he could pass to, so who cares?

The point is that in cheerleading or football or any other after-school activity, you are the mouthpiece of the school and not the other way around. Using the school as a sounding board for her hatred of this guy is not the right way to go about it. I'm not against accommodating her wishes to avoid association with this guy given their history, but it makes me wonder if she discussed it with her squad and thought about trying to find alternative methods of expressing herself without outrightedly just ceasing to cheer and disrupting the routine, but alas, all we have is the story we're given and we don't really have all the facts to speculate on.

Offline Shjade

When I went to school I didn't have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, so free speech isn't completely absent in school.  And being a cheer leader isn't quite like being a football player.  If a football player refuses to pass the ball to a certain person, then the function of the team suffers.  What harm was there in this girl not cheering for the boy?  Did it make the team lose?
Did it make the team lose? No. Of course, refusing to pass to a certain player isn't going to make you lose a football game either unless that player's the only one on your team that can score points. Not cheering for him didn't break the game, but just like the football example, having one cheerleader refusing to cheer causes the function of the squad to suffer. They're there to support the team and one of them can be seen visibly not supporting the team. Counter to purpose.

Not saying the Pledge of Allegiance on your own is one thing. Refusing to participate in a school activity you signed up to participate in can be grounds to be removed from that activity. Likewise, school newspapers don't have the same rights to free speech/freedom of the press as adult journalistic endeavors. Schools having power over students' rights to speech through school organizations is previously established.

Offline Jude

The title is accurate now, but still misleading.  It does not reflect points 4 & 5 on my factual rundown in an earlier post.  She was not billed for failing to cheer (as the first time and this one seems to suggest), she was billed for aggressive filing of a frivolous lawsuit.

Please keep in mind that nothing I have said thus far has actually been defending the football player in question, my intent is to clarify the facts of the situation.  I think honesty in journalism and discussion are far more important than this particular case.

Offline TheWriterTopic starter

I'm sorry that my topic doesn't meet your lofty standards for journalist integrity, Jude, but I am not a journalist.  I considered "After Not Cheering On" a more apt choice of words than "For Not Cheering On", which would definitely (as opposed to seeming to) suggest as you say.  However, I also decided that "Cheerleader Billed $45k After Not Cheering On Her Rapist" provided a more accurate depiction of the plight of the cheerleader than "Cheerleader Billed $45k After Frivolous Lawsuits".  Should I even bother to try sharing an article in the future I shall strive to match your shining example of soulless impartiality.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 05:04:32 AM by TheWriter »

Offline Noelle

As a suggestion, you might consider also toning down the level of sarcasm there.

Offline Jude

I apologize if it seems like I'm being ridiculously stringent and unfair.

I am only objecting because it seemed like you were mischaracterizing the situation in what you were saying by not mentioning certain facts that make the situation less egregious than what is implied.

When I saw the title of your post, "WTF -- why would a cheerleader be forced to pay 45k for refusing to cheer on someone who raped her, that's nightmarishly unjust" went through my head.  Imagine my surprise -- and feel of dissonance -- when I read on to find out that my initial outrage at the situation was predicated on a nonexistent scenario.  And that wouldn't have bothered me at all if it wasn't for the fact that I know the average person doesn't read -- or at best skims -- the body of articles.

In a world full of confirmation bias, the power of titles is truly amazing.

Offline Shjade

Cheerleader Fined $45k For Lawsuits Over Removal From Squad
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2011, 10:38:18 AM »
*points at subject* Doesn't get into the "why" but does explain the "what" accurately. Improvement?

While I had a similarly "wtf?" reaction to the title, I'm not sure if that's necessarily a bad thing as it certainly did draw my attention, which is sorta the point of headlines, isn't it? I dunno. Why is this an issue, again?

Offline Callie Del Noire

I feel bad for the girl, really, and I emphasize with her. (I wouldn't cheer for the guy who assaulted me). In my opinion, the school did wrong bringing back the assaulter, but apparently the school doesn't believe in punishing the offender.

That being said, the girl and her family should have known from the get go that there was a risk if they lost. The fact is, paying everyone's legal fees is a major hedge against even more frivalous law suits. That being said, I don't think hers was frivalous but that is the way things go. I'm more sad that the school system there is more into the 'athletes over anyone else' outlook.

Offline Tummyache

Makes me SICK! People suck.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110510/COLUMNISTS02/305100088/Eric-Crawford-There-s-not-a-lot-to-cheer-in-this-story

According to this article, this same student Threatened a Science teacher, and his punishment was lessened from suspension to in-school suspension, and then the entire school day was shorted so he would get out of in-school suspension, all so he could play in the playoffs! The UIL should kick schools out of the league for actions of this nature!

Offline Callie Del Noire

The more I hear about this Jock the less I like the way the rules were bent for him. I find myself wondering if we're going to see a body at his feet before he's done with college? This is the sort of behavior that makes football players think they can shoot their girl friend to get out of paying child support if they break up. Used to be that athletes were supposed to follow a code of conduct, and now.. the code of conduct is bent for their benefit.


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Does the particular cheer that they used strike anyone else as adding insult to injury?  I realize it's a common enough cheer, but under the circumstances, I can't help reading a different interpretation to it, especially from the viewpoint of the cheerleader.
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But this time three school officials, including — get this — the Silsbee principal and the district superintendent, confronted her for not cheering and ordered her to chant with the others: “Two, four, six, eight, ten! Go, Rakheem! Put it in!”

Offline Callie Del Noire

I feel that the issue of pressure being put on girl was reprehensible. She was sexually assaulted and emotionally fragile, and the school reps HAD to know that. I could think of a lot of things that could have been done but it seems the Jock got the benefit of the system in all things.

I feel bad about the 45k but that is the hazard of going to court, but the more I hear about the boy the more I feel that he's playing the system (or more likely having the system played for his benefit) and that without an idea of the consequences of his actions he's going to wind up getting in really big trouble (of course about the only thing I can think of worse than sexual battery that he's gotten away with is outright murder)

Offline Shjade

Quote
“Two, four, six, eight, ten! Go, Rakheem! Put it in!”
At first I was like  >:(

But then I was like xD

'Cause really, that's just hilarious at that point. It's gone beyond the point of disappointing well into the territory of farce. Seriously, it's starting to sound like something from the Onion.

Offline Tummyache

The more I hear about this Jock the less I like the way the rules were bent for him. I find myself wondering if we're going to see a body at his feet before he's done with college? This is the sort of behavior that makes football players think they can shoot their girl friend to get out of paying child support if they break up. Used to be that athletes were supposed to follow a code of conduct, and now.. the code of conduct is bent for their benefit.

Yes, this young man has grown up thinking the rule do not apply to him because he can catch and throw a ball, and will no doubt end up in jail. EVERYONE loses in a situation like that, even him. Shame on the Adults for perpetrating this kind of behavior. That whole town should be ashamed!

Offline Jude

It might be worth listening to what the special prosector who convicted him of assault had to say about this situation:
Quote
"The State feels it's a fair resolution for the victim, and the victim agrees," said Barlow. "I think it's a fair resolution also. The State is happy he has finally come forward and admitted his guilt."

Barlow understands not everyone in the community will be happy with the agreement.

"The community at large does not know all the facts and all the details involved in that," said Barlow. "Only the attorneys and the people involved. They are the ones that know and that's why everyone who was involved in this does believe it was justice and the proper thing to do."
http://www.kfdm.com/articles/former-39394-school-high.html

There's lots of quotes from Bolton too, if you guys are curious.  I think he sounds like an asshole.

EDIT:  This is interesting too.

http://www.kfdm.com/articles/naacp-35462-case-indictments.html

I should also note that the charges weren't plea bargained down from sexual assault to assault; they failed to get anywhere with the sexual assault, so it ended up being a separate grand jury instance later on the assault charges.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 07:23:20 PM by Jude »