A high school senior is threatening to sue after failing to make her school’s varsity cheer squad
For a kid, few things are more disappointing than bombing a try-out and not making a team or a special club they were really excited about, but a recent story out of Tallahassee about a teen who’s threatening legal action after failing to make her school’s varsity cheerleading squad kind of has us rolling our eyes.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the teen fell twice during tumbling try-outs for the varsity squad at Leon High School. She was ranked too low for a spot on the team and, since she’s entering 12th grade this year, she’s too old for a spot on the junior squad. Head cheerleading coach Caylen Berry said the teen isn’t the only senior who failed to make the cut. Still, the teen’s parents have reportedly filed a complaint with the district, and she’s allegedly threatening to sue if she doesn’t get her way.
Leon County School District is expected to decide later this week if the teen can be retroactively placed on the squad. Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time the district has gotten involved in cheerleader drama. Coach Berry told the Tallahassee Democrat the school district actually overruled two decisions about who should be on the cheer squad last year — one at Leon High, and another at a local middle school. It’s unclear if the parents in those cases simply complained or threatened to sue as well, but in both instances, girls were placed on cheer squads after being eliminated during try-outs.
“This is just a thing the district does and thinks is okay,” Berry explained. “I don’t know why the district feels the need to go behind the back of the coaches and the school. They should not put an athlete on the team that doesn’t deserve to be on the team. A decision like this would question my integrity as a professional. It also questions the entire legitimacy of tryouts and cheerleading as a sport.”
So, why is the school district getting involved in cheerleading try-outs? Your guess is as good as anyone’s. Chris Petley, a spokesman for the district, told the Democrat he would not provide any additional details or information about their involvement. He said only that officials were “made aware of a parent’s complaint” and “forwarded information back to Leon High School” so the principal could review it and make a decision.
When I was a junior in high school, I completely blew my senior choir audition. I’d been singing since fourth grade, taken private lessons, been in show choir — I was very talented, but my voice cracked in my audition and I forgot some words, and I didn’t make the top vocal group. It hurt, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
As a senior, this girl is likely worried about extracurricular activities and her college prospects. If she’s been cheering for a while, she probably doesn’t want to be left out. Those are difficult things to face, but that doesn’t mean you get to complain or sue your way out of a tough situation, and it’s kind of troubling that her parents seem to be supporting her in this crusade. There’s something to be said about learning to lose with grace.
As the Courier-Post points out, the Leon varsity squad will be the first local team to compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championship this year, and they were state runners-up last season in the non-tumbling division. The girls who get to compete in prestigious national competitions should be the ones who’ve earned their spot, not the ones who forced themselves onto the team by throwing a public tantrum.