“absurd, apocryphal, and fantastic”

by zunguzungu

Remember the cheerleader who was required by her school to cheer for the guy who raped her and lost a free speech lawsuit afterwards? Her appeal was denied, and she was ordered “to pay the school district’s legal fees on the grounds their suit was far-fetched and frivolous.” The details of what happened — according to this SF Gate article — make it seem exactly as bad as it seemed like it probably was then:

H.S., then 16, attended a party in her hometown of Silsbee, Texas, in October 2008. She said she was dragged into a room, thrown onto the floor by several youths and raped by Rakheem Bolton, a star on the school’s football and basketball teams. Bolton and a teammate were arrested two days later, but were allowed to return to school after a county grand jury declined to indict them. They were later indicted on sexual assault charges, but in the interim came the February 2009 incident on the basketball court.

H.S. joined in leading cheers for the Silsbee High team. But when Bolton went to the foul line, and the cheers included his name, she stepped back, folded her arms and sat down. “I didn’t want to have to say his name, and I didn’t want to cheer for him,” H.S. said. “I didn’t want to encourage anything he was doing.” She said she had done the same thing at an earlier game without incident. This time, she said, she was called into a hallway at halftime, and the district superintendent, his assistant and the school principal told her she had to cheer for Bolton or go home. Her father came out of the stands – where the fans, he said, were mocking the girl – to join his crying daughter. After a shouting confrontation with the school administrators, he, his wife and their daughter left the game.

In the following weeks, H.S. said, “it was my family against the community” of Silsbee, a town of 6,300 where “football is everything. … They were the star athletes and I was standing up to them.” She said youths shouted “slut” at her as she drove to school with her younger sister, who soon transferred to another school. The only response from school officials, H.S. said, was to advise her to stay away from Bolton.

“What I want out of the whole thing is for somebody to admit they were wrong,” the 18-year-old woman, identifying herself by her initials H.S., said in an interview last week. After undergoing therapy and graduating from high school, she’s taking a semester off before college, where she plans to study forensic science, partly because of what happened to her.