Cheerleader booted for refusing to cheer on the player who raped her!

Another rant by BettyJean Kling

A 19 year old player raped an under aged cheerleader after a high school game. He pled guilty to a lesser charge and so long as he does not break his 2 year probation, he remains free to play basketball at the school. The cheerleader as expected has continued to cheer for the team as a whole but when asked to cheer for him individually she stood in silence. Her choice cost her place on the squad and she was dismissed.

There is something very wrong when an adult can rape as girl, cut a deal and return as if nothing happened while the victim has to quit or cheer her assailant on or face dismissal. The appealed and lost in court! What does this say about how much we value our females? What message does this send to our males and females?

If we don’t do something pretty Damned quick- we might as well give in to Sharia Law- This is an outrage! I am asking everyone to write to this school and tell them no matter what charge this man settled on – it was an assault and they have just assaulted her again.

Reinstate this Gal immediately. Send a message that our girls will not be treated with indifference! The parents of every girl at this school should understand that boys just got an ok to use girls in this school district! Girls just got the message that them don’t count! This is serious and much support for the females in this Silsbee (Texas) High School district needs to be shown IMMEDIATELY!  

Court’s Ruling in Failure-to-Cheer Case Deserves Boos

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t deserve any cheers for a ruling in which it found a high-school cheerleader’s protest against an athlete she accused of raping her was not protected speech under the First Amendment.

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.

The Sisbee Independent School District punished H.S. appropriately, the court said, since “In her capacity as cheerleader, H.S. served as a mouthpiece through which SISD could disseminate speech — namely, support for its athletic teams.” Her protest also “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.”

The idea that H.S.’s refusal to cheer for Bolton was in any way “disruptive” of Sisbee High’s educational mission is, of course, laughable. As Watts has noted, there is no requirement that all members of the school’s cheerleading squad “constantly cheer, in an acceptable volume, like automatons.”

Bolton and another athlete allegedly assaulted H.S. while partying at a classmate’s home on Oct. 19, 2008. He was reinstated to the Sisbee High basketball team after a grand jury refused to indict him in January 2009.

On Feb. 27, 2009, Sisbee High played a playoff game in Huntsville where H.S. cheered for the team but refused to cheer “Rakheem!” for Bolton when he took free throws. Officials removed her from the cheerleading squad on March 4, 2009 in what appeared to be a clear act of retaliation for her exercise of free speech.

Principal Gaye Lokey, district superintendent Richard Bain and cheerleading squad sponsor Sissy McInnis “retaliate[d] against H.S. for her expressive or symbolic speech in protesting Bolton at the free throw line,” she said in her complaint.

Tinker broadly protects “a student’s personal expression that happens to occur on the school premises.” But the 5th Circuit  treated H.S.’s protest as belonging to the less protected category of “expressive activities that students, parents, and members of the public might reasonably perceive to bear the imprimatur of the school.”

“Insofar as the First Amendment does not require schools to promote particular student speech, SISD had no duty to promote H.S.’s message by allowing her to cheer or not cheer, as she saw fit,” the court said in affirming a trial court judge who summarily dismissed the case in October 2009.

The appeals court judges did not explain how allowing H.S.’s protest would have amounted to “promoting” student speech. And just because, as a cheerleader, H.S. expressed support for Sisbee High’s athletic teams does not mean her every act as a cheerleader was “school-sponsored.”

“Defendants silenced H.S. because they did not want to tolerate her protest of Bolton and his presence on the team; not because they were concerned that H.S.’ expression might reasonably be perceived to bear the imprimatur of the school,” Watts argued.

After being indicted for sexual assault in November 2009, Bolton pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault on Sept. 14 — two days before the 5th Circuit released its opinion. He was sentenced to a year in jail but will remain free if he completes two year probation.

More info

Posted: Sep 14, 2010 6:36 PM EDT Updated: Sep 15, 2010 9:29 AM EDT


Former Silsbee High School football star Rakheem Jamal Bolton pleaded guilty today to a Class A assault.

Last November, the 19-year-old Rakheem Jamal Bolton was indicted on a sexual assault charge in relation to an alleged 2008 attack on a former Silsbee cheerleader.

Bolton pleaded guilty to a lesser count of a Class A assault. Under Texas law, simple assault that results in a minor injury is a Class A misdemeanor.

Bolton was sentenced to the maximum time in jail, one year. Judge Joe Bob Golden suspended the sentence and placed Bolton on a two year probation.

During his probation period, Bolton must pay a $2,500 fine and complete 150 hours of community service. He must also take anger management classes.

If Bolton fails to complete these requirements within two years, he will be required to serve jail time.

The cases against a former Silsbee player Christian Rountree, and a juvenile are still pending. 


6 Responses

  1. Why do we even have cheerleaders, if not to glorify testosterone and men on ego trips? Surely H.S. should receive counseling to point out that her squad leader AND her principal were both women who have a uniquely “Texas” take on relationships with jocks. A state that produces beautiful smiles, beauty queens and a border lake where Mexican drug thugs shoot tourists in the back of the head to take their fast jet ski can’t be too keen on where we’re going as a civilization.

  2. This is horrible. He’s an *********.

  3. It is amazing to what extent the ‘good ole boys’ will go to in order to protect their own. This is a major cover up. If the perpetrator had just been a normal student he would have been hung out to dry. There is a crystal clear double standard here and a ‘no win’ situation for the victim. I feel for her and her family. I’m sure they are very disgusted as well as upset and they should be!

  4. 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

  5. First, this 5th Circuit Court needs to be reprimanded for taking this cruel position.

    Second, the parents with daughters in the Silsbee High School district need to become appraised of this.

    Twitter this, post in on Facebook and every social medium you have.

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