Tell Texas school district: Don't make survivor pay $35,000 for refusing to cheer for her rapist!
It's an unbelievable story. But unfortunately it's true.H.S.1, a student at the high school in Silsbee, Texas, reported being raped by a fellow student and athletic star. Her rapist, Rakheem Bolton (who eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser assault charge), was allowed to continue to play on the varsity basketball team.After her assault, H.S., a member of the high school cheerleading squad, was put in the position of cheering for a team that included her rapist. She continued to cheer for the team but refused to perform a cheer that included her rapist's name each time he stepped up to the free throw line.What happened next is unconscionable. School officials decided that if the rape survivor would not scream "Rakheem" with the rest of the cheerleaders, she would be kicked off the squad. Representatives of the school also suggested that H.S. "to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities."Bravely, H.S. refused. And as a result she was kicked off the cheerleading squad.
No young woman should be forced to cheer for her rapist. The family of H.S. sued the school district and lost. And now Silsbee High School can actually force her parents to pay their legal fees, which are more than $35,000.
We can't let this stand. That's why we're joining with our allies at Change.org to demand that Silsbee officials relinquish their rights to force the family of the raped cheerleader to pay their legal fees. They must publicly issue an apology to H.S. and institute a policy outlining appropriate treatment of sexual assault survivors, and instate appropriate rape prevention programs.