In October 2008, a 16-year-old high school cheerleader, identified as H.S., accused a fellow student and star athlete, Rakheem Bolton, of rape. Bolton ultimately pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and was given a suspended sentence. Bolton was allowed to continue playing on school teams while the case was pending, and H.S. continued to cheer. At a 2009 basketball game, H.S. cheered for the team on which Bolton played; however, she refused to cheer for Bolton when he approached the foul line to shoot a free throw. As a result, H.S. was thrown off the cheerleading squad. H.S. sued the school and lost in federal court. In addition to ruling against her, the court ordered that she pay the school district $45,000 in attorney’s fees. Here is the article published by Ms. Magazine and here is the article published by Think Progress about the court’s ruling.
Do you think H.S. should have been required to cheer for the man who pled guilty to assaulting her? Why or why not?
Was it appropriate for H.S. and her family to sue the school? Was the court’s ruling fair?
What does this case tell us about the normalization of violence by institutions, including schools and the legal system?
Resources : Cheerleader Required to Cheer for Man Who Assaulted Her – Ms. Magazine.pdf
Supreme Court Denies Justice To Texas Cheerleader Who Refused To Cheer Her Alleged Rapist – Think Progress.pdf
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