After one New Jersey student didn’t make the cheerleading team at her high school, her mom complained to the school board, which forced the school to abandon its “exclusionary” tryout program and place every interested student on the cheer squad.
The New York Post reports that a parent whose daughter failed to qualify for the team approached Hanover Park High Schools cheer coaches and the school board, who came up with what they thought was a solution that made sense: either disband the team or eliminate the tryout process and let everyone who wants to be a cheerleader be a cheerleader.
“The school’s athletic director said they changed the policy as a direct result of the mom’s complaint,” the Post reports. “When asked to do away with the new rule, officials threatened to scrap the 10-member squad altogether — telling parents and students that everyone makes the team, or nobody does.”
The school says the new policy makes the cheer team more “inclusive,” even if some of the students now on the team might not have the same athletic talent typically required of cheerleaders who make it through tryouts.
Needless to say, the cheerleaders who made the team find the whole thing maddening. A group of them addressed the board directly last Wednesday, trying to drive home the fact that the women who made the team have trained most of their lives as cheerleaders and deserve the recognition.
“All my hard work has been thrown out the window,” one cheerleader told the board during the meeting. “I tried my hardest. Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team, and their parent complained.”
“I came up here to state that I did not put in 18 months of work to lead up to this moment, just to be told it didn’t matter anymore,” said another.
But the school board says it’s not interested in changing its position, either.
“In order to facilitate a more inclusive program, the alignment between the various cheerleading squads would be modified to allow all interested students to be able to participate. This decision was made in the best interest of all students and was made to be as inclusive as possible,” the Hanover Park School District said in a statement.