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Former cheerleader must pay school $45k after refusing to cheer alleged assaulter

Court ruled teenager was acting as a mouthpiece for her school while cheerleading and could not refuse order to cheer for her alleged assaulter.

Image: James Cridland via Creative Commons

A TEENAGER IN TEXAS has lost her US Supreme Court appeal against a ruling that she should not have remained silent when ordered to cheer for an athlete she claimed had sexually assaulted her.

The girl, identified only by her initials HS, said she was raped at a party in 2008 when she was 16. She said local high school football star Rakheem Bolton was one of those involved in her attack, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2010, Bolton pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanour assault charge, ABC News reports, and was given a suspended sentence.

HS was part of her school cheerleading team at a basketball game featuring Bolton in February 2009. She refused to cheer when he stepped forward to take a free shot, and says that the principal, district superintendent and his assistant all ordered her to either cheer or go home, Education Week reports.

Upon her refusal, she was dismissed from the cheerleading squad. She says she told school officials why she did not want to cheer for Bolton and subsequently launched legal action against the school for allegedly denying her freedom of expression.

However, a court ruled that she was acting as a “mouthpiece” for her school while on the cheerleading squad and was at the game for the purpose of cheering. The court ordered her to pay $45,000 (€30,300), the Independent reports, to the school for filing a “frivolous” lawsuit.

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