Silsbee High School, Free Speech and societal roles.

Recently in Texas, a cheerleader was kicked off her high school team because she refused to cheer for an athlete at the school. She refused to do so because he was one of three men who had assaulted* her at a house party. So she was kicked off the cheerleading squad for failure to participate.

What do you think is going on here? How do you understand the situation? From my perspective, the mistake was that the player was allowed to continue performing pending trial for sexual assault and after he was convicted for assault. I do think the school was right to kick her off the squad, as her not cheering doesn’t fall under protected speech since a cheerleader speaks for the school and not for the individual. For example, if the guy had been her boyfriend and had cheated on her or if they merely had broken up in a dramatic fashion (as happens amongst teenagers) her not cheering would have been completely unacceptable.

  • The charges of sexual assault were dropped in court. However, his clothes were found at the scene of the crime (which he fled). So, err, take that as you will.

This is a sad case. Now the cheerleader has to pay many thousands in court costs. It’s so not right, a real travesty of justice. I want to say only in Texas, but nowadays women and women’s rights are being assaulted in so many places and so many ways.

Justify that statement.

I read about this last year, I don’t think it’s so very recent.

Anyway, I think it’s bullshit. He didn’t even get suspended, and she gets kicked off her team. A suspension, sure, but to be kicked off completely? What it says to me is that no one in that town had any intention of finding out what really happened, whether he did it or not he was going to walk away scot-free. Why is Texas so fucking backwards and retarded?

Just pay attention to the news and all the assaults on choice. Then count the number of states, and indeed the national Congress, who are attacking choice and women’s rights. I should add that defunding Planned Parenthood, insurance coverage, and programs like Medicaid affect women (and also children) adversely; and the attacks on the teacher’s unions and wage controls also affect women adversely.

For all those who are not aware of all this, like you seem to be, it’s good to remember that mainstream media folks and the propaganda and entertainment machines are owned by corporations and that there is a concerted effort to limit or invisibilize good information regarding the assaults on women, the poor and working classes, and so on. Also, when news on targeted groups does get published, it is almost always from a skewed rightwing angle designed to minimize, demonize, or ridicule the groups concerned; and that of course includes women.

Jonquil just likes to blame the American government for everything, Xunx. It’s become a pattern with her.

Notice she says it as if women are being “assaulted” more than they have in the past. Apparently she hasn’t read a history book recently.
What about how black people are being “assaulted”? Or immigrants? Immigrants certainly have more to complain about than women. I’m sure the cause doesn’t matter, though, so long as she can say something obscure and pointless about how awful the American government is, she’ll be happy.

Funny, jon, I was under the impression that the issues with teacher’s unions affected teachers.

Also, I have a question for you. Why do you think you know so much more about this than anyone else? Is it because you don’t watch mainstream news? What makes you think anyone else here does?

Here’s something from Alternet on the Christian extremist right which helps fuel the GOP’s assaults on women. … _on_women/

Holy series of non-sequiturs batman!

The justice system works on the premise of innocent until proven guilty. The school has to assume that he is innocent. So the cheerleader is correctly dismissed because she is not performing her duties.

Yeah well, gotta dress things up for discussion. I do agree that there is a great deal of blind-eye turning and that a suspension from the team would have been a more apt punishment. But the reason why she was being punished was for using (abusing?) her position as a voice for the school to bring further attention to a personal matter. I also agree that the worship of high school athletes in Texas is strange.


Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

A more complex situation would arise of he was found guilty, served some prison time as punishment and then returned to the school. Should the cheerleader be required to cheer for him in that case?
Probably yes, since he had paid his debt to society. But it’s an even more difficult to determine the correct way to handle it.

He was found guilty of assaulting her, though he didn’t have to serve jail time. In that case, I still think she should have to cheer for him in her capacity as cheerleader, though I’m not sure whether someone convicted of assault should be allowed to participate in high school athletics. On the one hand, it could help with rehabilitation and he has paid his debt. On the other hand, HS athletics are supposed to have a code of conduct and I am pretty sure being convicted of assault isn’t part of that code.

The bias here is laid out for all to see. I did read about this last year, I read quite a bit about it, and the cheerleader wasn’t trying to use her position to bring attention to a personal situation, she just didn’t want to cheer for him. I’m not saying she was right, as a “voice of the school” she has an obligation and if she chooses not to fulfill that obligation there should be action taken, but I think it was pretty harsh to kick her off the team given what had taken place. A suspension would have been more than adequate.

What message is this sending? It’s okay to rape somebody if you’re a football player? It’s okay to make the victim a social pariah and uplift the violent criminal?

“Without mercy, man is not a human being” - from Sansho the Bailiff

I agree a suspension would have been more than adequate. I think a verbal warning would have made the most sense. But I’m more interested in the interplay between roles and justice and how the two often conflict.

Even a warning is probably too much in this case, assuming it’s a private issue for the cheerleader and not a political action. If it’s a political action, then I agree that she is not performing her duties and can be dealt with somehow. It’s a tough situation though - kind of hard to judge from the outside, based on hearsay.

I don’t know if I’d go that far. As a cheerleader she is role-bound to cheer, that is what a cheerleader does. Failing to perform that duty warrants censure of some sort. There are mitigating circumstances in this case, of course, but that is where the notion of justice and the notion of roles comes into conflict. So which trumps here?

I think keeping the big picture in mind trumps everything. What is the purpose of cheerleading? Which means serve which ends, and do the same means always serve the same ends in all circumstances?

If this is a personal inability for her, for emotional reasons, and not a political point - then she needs help, and not censure.

As a person, I agree she needs help. As a person, she has been the victim of a terrible crime. But as a cheerleader she was derelict in her duties and deserving of censure. Part of the excellence of cheerleading is to cheer. Failure to cheer can hardly be in keeping with that pursuit. It would be like a potter who doesn’t make pots. Even if the person he would be making pots for is evil. The potter would then be a good person but a bad potter. I think that is what is going on here.