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I was so happy to come across your website. My daughter is 15 years old and she will be a sophomore in high school. She was a cheerleader the past three years. This year she was cut from the squad for the coming season. When I inquired I was told that she scored high enough to make the squad from her skills by the outside judges that were brought in but she only received "Good" recommendations from her teachers. I did not know anything about teacher recommendatons because they were not disclosed to us or the girls prior to the tryout.

I was told that the teachers rated the girls on such things as appearance, neatness, etc. I was also told that these recommendations were not required by the teachers so one girl may have 2 turned in, another 4 or 5, etc. This certainly didn't seem fair to me. And, in the 1990's I am not so sure that teachers should be rating the appearance of our daughters! I also do not think that it was fair that the girls had different numbers of recommendations from which to average.

On top of all of this when I requested to see the scores they refused to show me the recommendations. They gave me the total scores only. They also gave me a memo which went to the teachers saying that their ratings would count 25% toward the total scoring. When I figured up the points on this basis my daughter would have made the squad by a large margin. I was then told that the memo they gave to me was an old one from another year. It is dated 3-16-99, just days before the tryout!

When I spoke to the principal I used a basketball analogy and asked if they do this for any of the boys sports and he said no. I asked what would happen if he told the basketball coach that he could not have his best players because their teachers only gave them a good recommendation. Instead he would have lesser talented players with outstanding recommendatins. He said to me "we would never do that with basketball players, but we are talking about cheerleaders here!"

Can you please advise me of my rights and what course of action I should take to fight this discrimination. Can your group help? We live in Solon, Ohio a suburb of Cleveland. I have spoken to the superintendent but he is the one who told me it must have been an old memo. Something funny is going on and I want to take action on behalf of my daughter!

Sincerely, Rick

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM--and I'm sorry to hear about the unjust situation you and your daughter have found yourself in. I think that your basketball analogy was a good one and probably the right way to go. I'm just sorry that the principal didn't see it that way.

From what I can tell from your situation, the only recourse will be to put pressure on the school. The best way to do this is to try to get lots of people to pay attention to this situation, letting the school know that other people are in on their little secret. Perhaps you want to draft a letter to the local paper and/or try to get a reporter at the paper to do a story about this. Look at your paper and see who seems likely to take an interest in this story. Also, I would send a letter to the superintendent of schools. However, I wouldn't do any of this unless that is what your daughter wants. If there are any repurcussions, she is the one who will have to live through them--so make sure this is what she wants.

I hope that helps--and I do hope that you pursue this - because then other girls won't ever have to find themselves in a similar situation


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