See letters written to Silsbee officials by reporter and Blender Scott Rose below the fold.
And if that doesn’t blow your mind and put you into a rage, the teenager must pay compensation to the school — $45K — after the legal challenge. (The Independent):
The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a review of the case brought by the woman, who is known only as HS. Lower courts had ruled that she was speaking for the school, rather than for herself, when serving on a cheerleading squad – meaning that she had no right to stay silent when coaches told her to applaud.
She was 16 when she said she had been raped at a house party attended by dozens of fellow students from Silsbee High School, in south-east Texas. One of her alleged assailants, a student athlete called Rakheem Bolton, was arrested, with two other young men.
As usual, this tale does not favor the victim in the least. Bolton was not charged with rape and copped a plea to misdemeanor assault. That charge allowed Bolton to return to school — and the basketball team.
So when the victim traveled to a basketball game in January 2009 to cheer on Silsbee’s team, she participated in cheers and when Bolton was attempting a free throw, she stood silently with her arms folded. And then she was punished:
Richard Bain, the school superintendent in the sport-obsessed small town, saw things differently. He told HS to leave the gymnasium. Outside, he told her she was required to cheer for Bolton. When the girl said she was unwilling to endorse a man who had sexually assaulted her, she was expelled from the cheerleading squad.
Her parents sued, saying the teenager’s free speech rights were violated when the coach demanded she cheer for her rapist. Two courts ruled against her, arguing:
“As a cheerleader, HS served as a mouthpiece through which [the school district] could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams,” the appeals court decision says. “This act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, HS was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.”
And with that, came the $45K fine for filing a “frivilous” lawsuit.
WTF is going on in Texas? Basketball, oh hell, team sports are so important that rapists and schools can run roughshod over the right of a teen girl’s rights? It’s disgusting.
Blender Scott Rose noted that the Silsbee High School Code of Conduct reflects the problem:
At the link below is the latest online-available Code of Student Conduct for Silsbee High School. It states, among other things, that a student who copies school computer programs will face very serious school discipline and legal consequences. That is to say, Silsbee High takes the copying of its computer programs more seriously than the rape of one of its students.
The Silsbee Bee has a fan page on Facebook. You might want to share your thoughts about its high school.
Below the fold, the letter Scott Rose sent to Silsbee elected officials.
[address, phone redacted]
To Silsbee, Texas City Government Officials:
This is to express extreme concern over how the Silsbee School District handles students once they are convicted of assault and/or rape.
Reference is made to a report on the Silsbee school student and convicted assailant Rakheem Bolton at this link:
While the legal matter has revolved around whether Bolton’s victim should have been compelled to cheer Bolton on a Silsbee school sport’s team following his conviction, that legal matter is not the genuine issue.
The genuine issue is that, once a student is convicted of assault against another student, the convicted student should be expelled and never again permitted to trespass anywhere on school district property.
Silsbee Schools Superintendent Richard Bain has behaved unconscionably, allowing a convicted assailant to return to the same school with as his victim.
The Silsbee Schools Student Code of Conduct found at the link below talks of “Expellable Offenses.” How is it that being convicted of assaulting another student is not an expellable offense?
I note that a recent court decision in the legal matter orders the victim to pay costs to the Silsbee Schools. Please answer directly back to me at this e-mail address as to whether you will be making a public announcement waiving the victim’s legal obligation to pay that fee. I shall be publishing an article about your school district and your city government, in any event, but wish to know from you directly whether you are so sleazy that, after not expelling the convicted assailant from your schools, you would hold his victim liable for the court costs of a legal action involving that assailant.
Addresses of officials:
And here’s another letter:
from Scott Rose email@example.com
date Wed, May 4, 2011 at 4:40 PM
subject Inquire: In Re: Texas Department of Education guidelines
Dear Ms. Flores:
Will you please let me know whether the Texas Department of Education has certain minimum standards for student discipline that apply to all public schools in Texas?
My specific interest in this involves the Silsbee, Texas schools, in a matter reported on here:
The matter has come to involve, legally, the question of whether the student victim could be compelled to cheer for her convicted assailant during a sports event.
However, dialling this back a step, I am questioning why the convicted assailant was permitted to return to the same school with his victim.
The assailant pleaded guilty to assault in a plea bargain on rape charges.
Is it really general Texas DOE policy that such a student be permitted to return to the same school with the victim?
Or did the Silsbee Schools go against general Texas DOE policy by returning the convicted assailant to the same school with his victim?