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I hope that you can help us. We live in the Cleveland, Ohio area and my daughter will be a junior in high school. For the second straight year she has tried out for the cheerleading squad and been chosen by the judges for the team only to be kept off due to what the school calls "teacher recommendations." My daughter has a 2.73 GPA and received a 3.2 rating for attitude for the year thus far on her report card. The school does not use these recommendations for any of the other athletes at the school. We have filed a federal lawsuit in this matter but we still need help and support in our efforts.

The school has taken the position that cheerleading is not a sport even though the AAU officially classifies it as such. The school also classifies cheerleaders as athletes in their handbook. I have contacted Title IX and they have also taken the position that it is not a sport. Perhaps in the 1950's it was not a sport but today it consists of gymnastics and requires extreme physical training, etc. The girls are required to have physical exams to participate and they must attend conditioning and training workouts.

My daughter is devastated. She is the only girl for two straight years to be chosen by the judges but kept off by her teachers even though she exceeds the academic requirements. They perhaps do not like her friends (some of a different race) etc. Perhaps they do not like her blonde hair or her ear rings? This is a blatent case of discrimination and we need help - Rick

I'm sorry to hear about your situation - especially because I remember from my high school years how devastingly competitive cheerleading was. From what you have explained it seems like an entirely unjust situation. There seem to be a few ways to remedy this:

  • One, is to make your daughter realize that there are more important things in life than being a cheerleader, and that she'll be a better person for surviving this - but I imagine that argument won't go too far and that it doesn't solve the unjust part of the equation.
  • Two, you can bring this case to the media, to the PTA - and to any other body of people that will put pressure on the school. Also, schools hate it when their dirty laundry is aired in public, so just inundating them with letters that are sent to the media and to the PTA might be enough to scare them into reconsidering their choice. However, you must be certain to have your daughter's permission to do this because the consequences might be more paralyzing to her than not making the cheerleading squad. Everyone, but especially teenagers, hate to be singled out.
  • A third option is to go to the judges and ask what the procedure is and to see if they can override the recommendations of the teachers. I would also recommend that you contact the Women's Sports Foundation, they might have examples of similiar cases and how they were dealt with. I hope that helps. Good luck to you and to your daughter.



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