Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

High School Sued for Nude Cheerleader Snapchat Scandal, Civil Rights Conspiracy

While the headline is racy, the allegations of this lawsuit are nothing short of horrifying. A high school junior varsity cheerleader from Albuquerque, New Mexico, alleged that she was criminally harassed by her teammates and that the coaches and school did nothing to help her. What's worse, the school actively sought to escape liability by holding the teenager's school transfer request hostage behind a settlement agreement.

The lawsuit is claiming multiple violations of the student's civil rights under Title IX, the First Amendment and 42 USC 1983, in addition to the school conspiring to deprive the student of her civil rights under 42 USC 1985.

Detailed Allegations

The school's cheerleading squad was away at a cheerleading camp in Phoenix, Arizona, when several members of the team ganged up on the plaintiff in this case. The assailants took video of the plaintiff while she was showering, while using a coach's smart phone. The plaintiff attempted to hide behind the shower curtain, but it was ripped away. All the while, the teammates verbally harassed and body shamed the plaintiff while she protested. The videos were posted to Snapchat and shared.

If the video assault wasn't bad enough, the complete failure of the coaches and school that is alleged is rather damning. When the plaintiff attempted to report the incident, first to security, she was met with resistance at every step by her coach. After she told her parents what happened, they called the police. However, the police were unable to investigate because of the coach's intervention and claiming there was no video.

The Harassment Continued

That's not all, either. When the plaintiff returned home, the harassment continued against her unchecked, and initially, none of her teammates were disciplined for the video incident. Eventually, one teammate involved was disciplined, despite several teammates being involved. When the plaintiff sought to transfer out of the school, the school initially refused to move her request to the top of the priority list unless she signed a release of liability for the camp incident.

The full complaint contains numerous allegations regarding how the school failed to protect the plaintiff during, and after the incident. Furthermore, there are many allegations regarding the school's failure to even follow their own policies regarding bullying, cyber bullying, and harassment.

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