MENDOTA HEIGHTS (AP) -- A high school cheerleader is suing her school district to win back her job as captain of the squad, which she lost for violating her school's prohibitions against alcohol and tobacco.
But Andrea Warren's mother, Janie Berg, is urging people not to make fun of the case.
"This isn't about pompons, skirts and flirts," Berg said. "This is about what she has aspired to for years. This is about justice."
Warren said she's cleaned up her act, and that cheerleading is no longer just a sideline sport.
"The big deal is that I want to cheer in college. And there are many scholarships out there," Warren said.
Marshall Tanick, the 17-year-old's attorney, said they are not contesting Henry Sibley High School's right to discipline students. Warren was guilty and rightly stripped of her captain's duties last year, he said.
But the lawsuit filed this week in Dakota County District Court contends the district took the punishment too far when officials told Warren she could not be football cheerleading captain this year either -- despite a 7-1 vote by her squad.
"We want the school district to follow its rules," Tanick said. "She paid the penalty and was punished for it. She ought to not be punished twice."
The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 from the West St. Paul-Mendota Heights School District and asks that Warren be reinstated as captain.
But Margaret Skelton, the school district's attorney, said the district has broad discretion in its rules and how it interprets them.
"It's a waste of taxpayers' money for a school district to have to defend itself in a case like this," she said.
Back in October 2000, Warren was caught drinking. She was cited for consumption of alcohol by a minor and was deemed guilty of breaking the district's code of conduct for athletes and students in extracurricular activities.
A week later, Warren got in trouble again, this time for having cigarettes in her purse on school grounds.
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