Cheerleader Required to Cheer for Man Who Assaulted Her

If someone assaulted you, would you want to then cheer for his performance on a basketball court? A 16-year-old Texas high school student sure didn’t.

High school football star Rakheem Bolton and two others were indicted for sexual assault of a child–identified only as H.S.–at a post-game party in 2008. According to H.S.–a fellow student and cheerleader at Silsbee High–Bolton, football player Christian Rountree and another juvenile male forced her into a room, locked the door, held her down and sexually assaulted her. When other party-goers tried to get into the room, two of the men fled through an open window, including Bolton, who left clothing behind. Bolton allegedly threatened to shoot the occupants of the house when the homeowner refused to return his clothes.

In September 2010, Bolton pled guilty to a lesser charge of Class A Assault and was sentenced to one year in prison, a sentence that was suspended by the judge in lieu of two years probation, a $2,500 fine, community service and an anger management course.

Silsbee school officials had two responses to the incident. First, they urged H.S. to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities. With the support of her family, she refused to do so, rejecting the notion that she had anything to be ashamed of. Secondly, school officials kicked her off the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for Bolton. No kidding.

Bolton had been allowed back on campus during a brief period when one grand jury withdrew the charges before another grand jury reinstated them. During a basketball game, H.S. cheered for the entire team but refused to cheer “Rakheem” during his free-throws, so she was off the squad.

H.S.’s parents sued the school for violating her right to free speech, but an appeals court dismissed her case earlier this month. The bizarre reasoning: “In her capacity as cheerleader, [she] served as a mouthpiece through which the school could disseminate speech–namely, support for its athletic teams.” Not cheering for Bolton “constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, [she] was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily.” In other words, the “work of the school” is basketball, and H.S. was obligated to put on a robotic smile and cheer for the man who had assaulted her.

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? You can contact Bain and the school’s new principal, Eldon Franco:

Richard Bain Jr., Superintendent, Silsbee Independent School District, 415 Highway 327 West, Silsbee, TX, 77656; rbain@silsbeeisd.org; (409) 980-7800

Eldon Franco, Principal, Silsbee High School, 1575 Highway 96 North, Silsbee, TX, 77656-4799; efranco@silsbeeisd.org; (409) 980-7800

Edited Photo from Flickr.com user DeusXFlorida through Creative Commons License 2.0

Comments

  1. Anne Meczywor says:

    Seriously. This is 2010. Time for a leap into modern times and realize that rapists are nothing but lowly little criminals, and their victims have every right to dignity and grace. This woman should hold her head high, while the criminals hide THEIRS in shame.

  2. Anonymous Parent says:

    Clearly, this brave young lady has suffered. Clearly, school officials have identified H.S. as having a need for specially designed educational instruction. After all, they "urged H.S. to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities." Are these recommendations made for all typical students in relation to their educational needs? Obviously not. The school district and its officials have an obligation to identify the individual needs of H.S. , make appropriate adaptations and recommendations to facilitate and enable H.S. to access and benefit from all educational activities (including lunch and homecoming!) afforded to other students. Good for H.S. and her family…for rejecting the ridiculous, inappropriate, and self-serving, exclusionary recommendations and adaptations . I am confident the school district would like for H.S. (and her family as well) to keep a low profile. Golly gee…sure wouldn't want anyone to know the school district has knowledge of a known danger running up and down their basketball court and in the school. Many words, terms and thoughts are coming to mind…that perhaps are worth exploring. For example, Civil Rights violations, ADA title ll, prior knowledge of a known danger, willful and reckless endangerment, undue delay, abuse of power and position, whistle blower protection, female victim (aka..minority), equal access ……I hope the family reads this and finds a really good Civil Rights attorney who is familiar with educational and federal laws. H.S. and her family should be protected …not abused.

  3. I am from Houston, Texas and take my word for it sports are king. Anything to protect an athlete. If they were innocent why jump out the window. A girl would be up a creek without a paddle against any kind of athlete. Why were there 3 boys and why was the door locked.

    Because in Texas athletes get what they want and when they want it.
    Report

  4. I am shocked at this post. I am a former student of this high school and was a senior at the time of this situation. The High School is being completely misrepresented. H.S is someone I know personally and I truly grieve for her and this situation but to have petitions and send emails to the superintendent and principal are causing more harm than good. I know both of these men and they are good kind people with good families who are being unfairly involved in situation that spun completely out of control due to the irresponsible actions of at the time 17 year olds. I'm not saying that every decision made was the right one but there was a lot of stories going around during this time, and each day the story seemed to change. Its been 2 years and our town and her family is still suffering from one night of stupidity from many people. I just wish a decision would be made, and that innocent people would be left out of it. P.S Principle Eldon Franco was not even the principle, nor in the district at the time of the incident.

    • Andrea Sundberg says:

      It is always hard to hear bad things being said about somebody you know, but to say that a sxual assault is just an irresponsible actionof 17 year olds is crazy. When people are trying to get into a room and you escape through a window after assaulting somebody you know what you participated in was wrong. People from good families do bad things all the time and to excuse their behavior and just let it go is wrong. This petiion is important because schools need to know they need to put more effort into protecting victims and preventing these crimes as they do into protecting the perpetrators. If the message is not sent that this is unacceptable it will just happen again.

    • If anyone was kicked off a team it should have been the assailant! Unbelievable that the school tried to hide the girl and tell her not to go to the cafeteria. The school board ought to suspend the school officials who mishandled this from the beginning.

    • I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for their actions no matter HOW good a family they may come from.

      The fact remains that this girl is being punished by the school, while the perpetrator has NOT. Why should that be allowed to stand? It shouldn’t. And those in charge need to be held accountable for THEIR decisions.

    • LauraElle says:

      How is the high school being misrepresented? By not expelling a student convicted of sexual assault? So it’s okay that a rapist still attends that school and plays sports? Their priorities are very clear- the male atheletes can get away with sexual assault.

    • “Good kind people”?! I don’t know a single good, kind person who would do that to someone. Those kdis should have gone to juvie or jail. There is no reason for them to get away with it. That girl should be protected, not kicked off her squad for refusing to cheer on a rapist. Sure, it was at a basketball game, but cheering for him would give the impression that nothing happened and that she forgives him which is completely untrue. No person in the world should have to suffer by having their body violated without their permission. This isn’t something the school should have taken lightly and it spun out of control because a girl was molested and her attackers are playing sports! That isn’t stupidity that happened, it was rape pure and simple. Don’t make a molehill out of a mountain.

    • anonymous says:

      there is NO excuse for what these guys have done. it shouldn’t matter if he was the star althete or the nerd who hangs in the chemistry lab after school. WHAT HE DID WAS WRONG!!! Rape is serious, and to make HS hide around the school and walk the opposite way if she happens to see Rakheem in the same hallway, thats ridiculous. it is obvious what the schools main priorities are, and it’s just wrong. it was her right to refuse to cheer for that lowlife, and it was her right to attend school functions like any other student. for you to say it was just an irresponsible action made by some 17 year olds, makes me wonder where YOUR priorities are. you may as well have been one of the ones to assault her.

  5. Krista Whitehead says:

    This young lady was my best friend in high school and we cheered together. sadly all the cheerleaders turned their backs on her exept for me. If you were raped by a stupid athlete would u seriously cheer for him. i think not. this idiot should not have ever been allowed back on the court. he was in the wrong, not her. nevertheless, she won thank God:)

    • In the end, yes… she is ultimately the winner and one day, people will see that.

      And should he do this again, and there is NO QUESTION he will, the courts and those who either turned a blind eye or insisted he was innocent will have no one but themselves to blame. he is a product of his environment, a criminal of their OWN making.

      • Kryss LaBryn says:

        Alas, she didn’t win. The latest reports (from www. helpthecheerleader. com) say that the Supreme Court wouldn’t even listen to her case, and has fined her FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS for bringing a “frivolous” lawsuit against the school.

        FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. As a fine against the victim of an underage RAPE for refusing to carry on like notihng ever happened, and for not bouncing around cheering him personally.

        They’re trying to raise the money to cover this insanity; there’s a place you can donate on the link.

        Good god, why wouldn’t the Supreme Court even give her a chance to talk to them? Why would they fine her family a decent year’s income without even bothering to listen to her first?

        This is absolutely so Bizarro world I can barely even wrap my head around it. She should sell her story to Hollywood and make a shitload off it; perhaps she can finally get some good out of it. At the very least she can self-publish a book if writes it up and can’t find a publisher.

        Effing INSANE.

  6. Attracting women says:

    Wow, i wouldnt want to cheer for someome who did that to me as well. The officials are so wrong.

  7. My ten years in Texas showed me that Texans are, generally speaking, homophobic, sexist, racist and totally lacking in empathy. No intelligent person would choose to raise their family there and I arm myself heavily every time I must visit that state. If this family truly cares about the well-being of their daughter they will pack up and move out of the southwest sewer of Texas.

  8. I've signed the petition in support of this brave teen cheerleader to finally get the justice she deserves. Punishing and victimizing her is outrageous while just giving the rapist athlete a mild slap on the hand if at all.

  9. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. The criminal justice system in this country is weak when it comes to sexual crimes. Even if these boys were younger than eighteen, they still should have been thrown in jail for at least two years, and had their record charged as sexual offenders! That poor girl- clearly there is no sympathy, and a whole lot of sexism at her school and in her community.

  10. Jeniffer says:

    OMG!!!!! That's Terrible. Just TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOOOOO SAD :( :( :( :( :( :(

  11. So why, instead of trying to 'hide' the victim did the school administration not suspend the assailant? Why was he allowed to continue to enjoy playing basketball as if nothing happened? I'd feel insulted and angry if I was the parent of the victim and leave no stone unturned to get justice for my daughter.

  12. If this was your daughter, sister, mother, would you feel the same way?

  13. Obviously the first step to NOT cheering for him would be to not go to game to cheer since she knew he was on the team.

    It’s also not surprising why the school wanted to keep a low profile on the situation. I don’t think it was meant to benefit any one person in particular but it seems most beneficial to the victim that she be encouraged and allowed to avoid certain school activities. Once she makes it clear she wants to go to the game anyway they expected her to cheer and not draw attention or drama to the fact that she blatantly didn’t cheer for the guy who assaulted her.

    It’s just really clear to me that the school was avoiding confrontation, increased school drama and gossip, and possible additional emotional trauma to the girl.

    Upsetting her by firing her from the squad may have been considered an acceptable evil, yet worthwhile if it meant upholding the previous avoidance’s that I mentioned.

    • Why should this girl change HER life because if him?

    • From some of the other articles, it seems that the girl was following her rape counselor’s advice to continue the activities she enjoyed doing. I think there is difference between thoughtfully protecting the girl from “possible additional trauma” and telling her to stop going to the cafeteria.

  14. What is even more surprising is DA Sheffield has a daughter. Would he want her to cheer for her perp? I doubt it.

  15. injustice!

  16. AegisWinx says:

    This is truly disgusting, not to mention a MAJOR INJUSTICE.

    Im so proud of not standing sports of any kind….

  17. This is so ridiculous and even more so that her attacker is allowed to go to school with her and continue playing sports like nothing happened in his life vs paying for what he did to her. What kind of backwards place is America when something like this can happened. She should be allowed to cheer and he should be forced into nightschool if they don’t have the balls to send him to prison.

  18. DeWente69 says:

    He pleaded guilty to assault. Even though something sexual probably did happen. That is just hearsay. The only obligation the school has is to keep him away from her, but since she is a cheerleader and he is an athlete, she is choosing to be around him. So yes, as the article states, she was supposed to continue business as usual. She probably could have worked something out with her coach to not cheer for any games in which he played, or she could have done something for cheer in a smaller capacity that didn’t need her to cheer for anyone in particular, or she could have quit. The school was not going to punish him for an assault charge that had nothing to do with the school. I think she should have gotten a restraining order against him. That way she would have had the “right of way” and he would have to stay clear of her. I don’t know how the school would handle the situation in that scenario. This situation is unfortunate, but the school spent money on legal fees. That is money out of the schools budget that needs to be recouped, and the easiest way for the school to get it back is from the people that sued them.

  19. Somehow the school system, as well as the court of law, managed to prioritize everything upside down in this case. Personally, I believe that a rape conviction should carry a mandatory charge of life in prison. This case is MIND-NUMBING.

  20. Lynda Oldham says:

    The school should have placed the rapist in an alternative school setting for a minimum of 60 days. He should not have been allowed to play his basketball games. The girl needs to hire a high powered attorney on a contingency basis to see what all of her rights have been trampled on. Then she should sue the rapist for the assault if he doesn’t get any other punishment.

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