Just over forty years ago, due to events in my very own flyover city, came the Supreme Court case that stated “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
But apparently, that speech didn’t include weed.
And now, thanks to the awesome conservatives of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, it also doesn’t include your right to silently oppose having been raped.
Well okay, I suppose…wait…WHAT?!
Say you’re a sixteen year old girl who is a cheerleader in a small Texas town raped by the guy taking a free throw surrounded in a town full of tragically ironic, modern-day, Bob Ewells. It’s bad enough he raped you, damned if you’re going to cheer for him by name. So you sit and stay silent. You don’t scream at him, you don’t do anything but sit silently. In return you are removed from the cheerleading squad by the school the way Chuck Connors was kicked out of the army. That sure seems wrong, so you file suit alleging your First Amendment Rights were violated.
Well, you lose. Because, “You young lady”, according to the Fifth Circuit, “are a disgrace to your avocation!”
“In her capacity as cheerleader, H.S. served as a mouthpiece through which (the district) could disseminate speech – namely, support for its athletic teams,” the three-judge panel said in a Sept. 16 ruling.
The district “had no duty to promote H.S.’s message by allowing her to cheer or not cheer, as she saw fit,” the court said. “Moreover, this act constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because, as a cheerleader, H.S. was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering.”
So “Go Team!” is protected speech, but silently protesting your rape is frivolous and verboten. This very special edition of Texas Justice is brought to you by the conservative movement and folks in the Gang of Fourteen, including “Short-Ride Joe” Lieberman.
The panel consisted of three of the court’s most conservative judges: Emilio Garza and Edith Clement, both of whom were once on President George W. Bush’s short list for a Supreme Court vacancy, and Priscilla Owen, a Bush appointee whose confirmation was slowed by a Democratic filibuster.