Ex-cheerleader who kneeled for national anthem sues school after failing to make new squad

By Shon Gables, WGCL

Kennesaw, GA  — A former Kennesaw State University cheerleader is taking her school to court. The ex-cheerleader is one of five to take a knee during the national anthem last season.

The federal lawsuit was filed on Sept. 5 by sophomore Tommia Dean.

Dean alleges Kennesaw State violated her first amendment rights and members of the university were participating in a private conspiracy actionable under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

Dean names multiple defendants in the lawsuit, including former KSU president Sam Olens; Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren; retiring State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs); and two of the school’s senior associate athletic directors, Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin.

Last fall, Dean and four other cheerleaders thrust KSU into the national spotlight by kneeling during the national anthem, a decision that later kept members of the squad in the tunnel during the national anthem.

Dean’s filing claims the experience has caused her to suffer an increase in migraine headaches and emotional distress.

CBS46 has made a request to KSU and Dean’s attorney for a response.

A KSU spokesperson responded, saying, “We are unable to comment on pending litigation.”

KSU cheerleaders were back on the field Saturday for a football game. Dean wasn’t there as she didn’t make the squad this year.

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