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Comics Illustrator Raises Money For Texas Cheerleader Who Refused to Cheer Her Rapist
by Alanna Bennett | 11:16 am, June 9th, 2011
Sometimes the institutions that are supposed to hold us up and teach us how to live our lives as decent human beings just fail us completely, doing something so revolting it challenges your very faith in humanity. Such is the case with the administrators at Texas’ Silsbee High School, who decided to throw one of their cheerleaders off the team when she refused to cheer directly for the boy who raped her. When the case was taken to the appeals court, it was dismissed, and her family is now required to pay $45,000 to cover the school’s legal fees. Hearing of the case, illustrator Jason Ho is drawing custom sketches for $20 each and donating all proceeds to the girl’s legal case. Click through for the full story, as well as more info on how you can help.
At the age of 16, Hillaire S. was sexually assaulted by Rakheem Bolton, a basketball player and football star from the school. When she decided to report the assault, the school responded by informing the girl that it was her responsibility to “lay low,” stay away from the cafeteria, and not go to Homecoming. Bolton plead to the charge of misdemeanor assault, and was allowed back on the basketball team.
When Hillaire, a cheerleader for the school, refused to cheer directly for her attacker on game nights–while still cheering for the other players and the team as a whole, it should be noted–they very publicly kicked her off the cheerleading squad. It should also be noted that the cheer in question went like this (emphasis ours) :
“Two, four, six, eight, ten, come on Rakheem, put it in.”
After being removed from the squad, as well as being publically branded a “slut” by an unsupportive community, she challenged the school in court. And she lost, with the appeals court citing that, as a cheerleader, she was a “mouthpiece through which the school could disseminate speech–namely, support for its athletic teams,” and asserting that her refusal to cheer for Bolton “constituted substantial interference with the work of the school.”
In the aftermath of all of this, this one brave teenage girl in Texas is left not only to face the hostility of her classmates and her town, but of the very administrators who are supposed to be responsible for guiding kids into adulthood with at least a basic sense of how to interact with society. On the practical side, her family is still buried in $45,000 worth of the school’s legal fees, which the court is requiring that she pay.
Jason Ho, Assistant Editor at Bongo Comics, is trying to help. He is drawing some very cool full-color sketches of any character of your choice for $20 each, and we encourage you all to get one, as all proceeds go to helping pay the legal fees.
(via Comics Alliance)