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Former Kennesaw State Cheerleader Suing School After Kneeling During the National Anthem

“It’s a burden to have to walk around and be scared all the time.”

Tamia Heard

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One former Kennesaw State University cheerleader is suing the Georgia school over first amendment violations.

Tommia Dean is one of five cheerleaders who kneeled during the national anthem last college football season. As a result of national spotlight and backlash, the university asked the cheerleaders to remain off the field during the anthem, but the decision was later reversed.

This season, all five women involved in the protest tried out for the team, but only one was selected. On Sept. 5 Dean filed a lawsuit against former KSU President Sam Olens, Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, and state Rep. Earl Ehrhart citing emotional distress due to the violation of her rights.

On Sept. 19, Dean and her mother appeared on ABC’s “The View” where she discussed her protest and plans to sue the university for violating her right to protest by taking a knee at the football game.

Dean told “The View” that she was constantly on edge after taking a knee, fearing that something might happen to her. Many have taken offense to the kneeling protest, calling it disrespectful to the flag and even the military.

“I never want to come across as disrespectful to the military,” Dean said. “That’s not what this about. It is simply about standing up for police brutality against minorities, that’s simply it. For many people who are out there in the military, I would never want to disrespect them. It’s honorable what people do in the military. You’re standing up for your country which is amazing.”

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Tamia Heard is a rising senior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Tamia is majoring in communication studies with a journalism concentration. As a southern woman, she enjoys Saturday's filled with college football and good food!

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