DALLAS (September 12, 2011)—The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an order that a former cheerleader pay almost $39,000 in court costs to a Southeast Texas school district that punished her for refusing to cheer for an athlete she said raped her.
The appeals court Monday remanded the case back to a lower court to recalculate the fees assessed after the Silsbee cheerleader and her family unsuccessfully sued over her punishment, alleging a violation of her constitutional rights.
The appeals court said the lower court erred in finding that one of her four claims, a violation of her First Amendment right, was frivolous.
The court said the fees should be recalculated based on the remaining claims that it says were rightly called frivolous.
In 2009, the then 16-year-old cheerleader stood silently and refused to cheer for the star Silsbee High School basketball player she says raped her.
The school suspended her and she later flied a federal lawsuit, which a judge dismissed.
School officials contended the punishment was justified because the athlete had not been charged at the time.
He later pleaded guilty to reduced assault charges.