The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2011

Cheerleaders’ lawsuit against Seneca dismissed

By Emily Younker
Globe Staff Writer

SENECA, Mo. — A lawsuit filed late last year by two former Seneca High School cheerleaders against the R-7 School District and several school officials has been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs, according to online court records.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, has been dismissed with prejudice, according to documents filed Tuesday. A dismissal with prejudice bars the plaintiffs from refiling the case against the defendants.

The filing notes that the plaintiffs have not been compensated by the defendants as a result of the dismissal, and all parties will be responsible for their own court costs and attorneys’ fees.

District officials were recently notified of the dismissal, newly hired Superintendent Steve Wilmoth said Thursday.

“We’re certainly pleased with that outcome,” said Wilmoth, who is not listed as a defendant. “We’re certainly pleased that it’s not going any further.”

Efforts to reach Jason Shackelford, the Centralia attorney representing the plaintiffs, and Kevin Case and Randi Helms, the Kansas City attorneys representing the defendants, were unsuccessful.

The plaintiffs had sought a jury trial and unspecified damages in the allegation that the defendants had violated their rights to public education, due process and free speech when they were removed from the cheerleading squad for alleged acts of cyber-bullying.

Members of the school board, former Superintendent Rick Cook and former high school principal Tosha Fox had been named as defendants.

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