Statesman: Federal judge sides with cheerleaders in civil rights lawsuit

Burley High School administrators violated students’ First Amendment rights by kicking them off the school cheerleading team, a federal judge ruled last month.

The Idaho Statesman’s Ruth Brown reported Wednesday on Chief U.S. District Judge David Nye’s July 26 order.

The nine students sued the district in 2018. The students proved that they were dismissed from the cheerleading team for reserving the right to file a grievance with the Cassia County School District, the Statesman reported.

Fourteen students engaged in a sit-in protest against their coach on Sept. 29, 2017, and were suspended from the team for a week. The students and their parents signed a written agreement and were reinstated to the team, but some students added a sentence to their agreement saying they reserved the right to file a grievance.

The cheerleaders who added that statement were dismissed from the team, the Statesman reported.

Nye said the plaintiffs’ request for damages has not been decided, the Statesman reported.

“While disappointed in the ruling, it is only one part of a two-part question and the district is working with its legal counsel to hopefully reach a fair resolution and to ensure the district can focus on the educational goals and needs of our students,” district spokeswoman Debbie Critchfield told the Statesman.

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