Cheerleading is a big deal for interested high-schoolers. They train hard and memorize complex routines to keep the morale high at other sporting events. People outside of the sport are often amazed by how intense the performers take their craft, and “competitive cheerleading” has emerged as a sport all its own. But even regular high school cheerleading can become rife with controversy.
Hanover Park High School in New Jersey recently made the news when it changed up the rules for its cheerleading program. The news became popular enough online that the school released an official statement clarifying the matter.
The issue began when a parent complained to school officials about her child not being allowed on the cheering squad. The athletic director then decided to change policy, but the exact details are a bit complex.
Initially, it was reported that the director ruled that anyone, regardless of their prior experience, would be welcome on the cheerleading squad. This exploded online, with thousands of commenters complaining about how a “snowflake” forced this rule change.
They clearly disagreed with the decision, citing the many years of practice and effort that the other girls went through in order to make the team. Many of the girls themselves were quoted on the issue saying essentially the same thing.
“I tried my hardest, and now everything’s going away, all because one child who did not make the team, and a parent complained, so now all my hard work has been thrown out the window,” said one tearful Hanover Park student.
The school released a statement after all of these articles went viral clarifying exactly what happened with this policy change.
First, they clarified that none of their cheerleading teams compete in any competitive setting. This disagreement and outrage is simply over which Hanover Park teams that these girls get to cheer for.
“Historically, Hanover Park had three cheerleading squads; Black, White, and Gold, representing the school’s colors. Interested participants are required to audition for the squads and a selection is made based on certain criteria,” the statement read. “Every individual who seeks to participate in cheerleading is placed on one of the three squads.”
“The… principal received multiple appeals concerning the process that was implemented in selecting students for the various squads. As a result of our investigation, it was discovered that a modification was made for qualification to the black squad. This modification increased the number of students who had qualified for black squad based on a scoring decision.”
“Based on the core values contained in the guidelines for cheerleading, the Principal determined that for the 2018-19 school year, the three squads were condensed to two squads, an upperclassmen squad and an underclassmen squad.”
The cheerleaders that are upset are the underclassmen who presumably would have made the “Gold” squad. Now they are cheering with the “underclassmen” squad and clearly aren’t happy being lumped in with the rest of the girls who want to cheer.
These girls are learning a hard lesson in humility and how you need to make the best of any situation. What do you think about the rule change?