Cheerleader: A Tale of Dispair

One of the things I have always felt very strongly about as a teacher is being an advocate for my students. Not all of my students over the years have come from very stable homes. Many have had no adult in their life who would stand up for them or their rights. Students for the most part are completely powerless. They are expected to follow school rules blindly and unerringly. I am here to tell you that a lot of school rules are ridiculous and have no actual merit when it comes to the one thing we are supposed to be doing, educating youth.

This is where the advocacy part of me gets to step in from time to time. I will fight for my students. I am in their corner and when they run afoul of an adult who just seems to have it in for them. I make my presence felt. One of my best memories as a teacher was a few years ago when some students came to me and told me they felt they were being unfairly targeted by our local jr. high and wondered if I would go talk to the principal. I was proud the students thought of me. I was dismayed when the principal all but told me to get lost when I tried to bring up the student grievances. I was not their parent. He didn’t have to listen to me. This was his mistake,  I am not so easily ignored.

This is why I am so distraught over an article I read in the paper yesterday. A young girl (16) at a Texas High School lost her appeal before the Supreme Court over her removal from the cheerleading squad. I didn’t care so much about her losing the appeal. I am not a law expert. There could be any number of reasons the Supreme Court refused to hear it. No, what dismayed me was the original story.

The young girl in question was kicked off the cheerleading squad when she refused to chant the name of a boy whom she had accused of rape. The boy Rakheem Bolton was a star football player at Silsbee High School. He was not convicted of the rape but did plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. The incident occurred at a basketball game when the boy went to the free throw line. The cheerleaders began to chant his name. The young girl in question crossed her arms and remained silent.

She was then told by the district superintendent, his assistant, and the school principal that if she refused to chant his name she would be sent home. She refused. Not only did they send her home they dismissed her from the squad. To which I have this to say, “what the fuck!” Really, you couldn’t let her remain quiet. Maybe ask her to go to the other side of the court and do a cheer. Anything at all. Did you somehow forget what your job was, to educate and protect all of your students.

I don’t know the case. I have no idea if the boy actually raped her and took the plea to stay out of serious trouble. I have no idea of the plea was offered because they didn’t think they had enough to get him on the rape charges. Anything is possible. What I do know is that he was convicted of assaulting the girl. Do you hear me you imbeciles, convicted. You asked a young 16-year-old girl to chant the name of someone who, at a very minimum, assaulted her.

Very sensitive. Way to show what is really important in almost all schools in the United States, high school and above, sports. Way to think outside of the box and help a young girl who had a crime committed against her. This shit pisses me off. I don’t care about the lawsuit. I don’t care about the Supreme Court or any attempts by the parents to get damages. That is all secondary to the fact that three people who I feel have a duty to be an advocate for their students failed to do the right thing. They should be ashamed of themselves.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

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