Remember the case of the Texas high school cheerleader who was kicked off the team because she refused to cheer for her accused rapist—a fellow student and athlete—at basketball games?
Maybe you, like I, missed the news last week that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of her case after a federal appeals court ruled that the cheerleader was representing her school, not herself, when in uniform. As such, her right to free expression was not infringed upon. The court concluded that she had no right to remain silent when ordered to cheer, by name, for her alleged attacker.
Federal courts have also ordered H.S. and her parents to reimburse the district more than $45,000 for the costs of defending against a frivolous suit.
The family's lawyer, Laurence Watts, said the ruling means students who try to exercise their right of free speech can be punished for refusing to follow "insensitive and unreasonable directions."
The athlete, meanwhile, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to a misdemeanor assault charge and received a suspended sentence.
UPDATE: Larry Watts, the girl's attorney, has launched a paypal campaign to help cover the $45,000. “I got so many calls about this case," Watts says. "It's heartening to see this concern. This country is in a desperate straights right now. In Texas, more so than in other places."
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