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.
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.