Anger among parents is growing over the decision of a New Jersey high school to end tryouts for a cheerleading team, to cancel previous standards, and to admit anyone who wants to participate, no questions asked.
This month, the East Hanover Board of Education decreed that the cheer squad at Hanover Park High School will drop its standards and will allow all applicants to join the team, Breitbart News reported last week.
Some students and parents expressed dissatisfaction over the relaxed qualifications for the cheer squad last week, but since that time, the fury over the move has only grown.
In a May 7 statement, the school tried to explain the change. But school officials also claimed the new rules were meant to be more “inclusive” by eliminating past standards. The board also insisted that its new policy was in the “best interest” of the students.
“In order to facilitate a more inclusive program,” the board said, “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.”
But upset parents and students attended a meeting of the school board to protest the new lack of standards.
“I tried my hardest,” Krueger added. “Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team, and their parent complained.”
Hanover sophomore Jada Alcontara agreed, saying, “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.”
New Jersey’s News 12 aired a report containing a video of some of the girls addressing the board.
After the board withstood an avalanche of criticism for its new “inclusive” rules, the district put out another statement to “help clarify inaccurate information being circulated in the press,” according to the Daily Mail:
The High School 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.
The district noted that the cheer squads only cheer for school events and are not involved in competitions or other “interscholastic events.”
The district then said that the program was being condensed to only two teams instead of three and that reports on additions to the teams were misleading:
Contrary to many of the reports, the two cheerleading squads for the 2018-19 school year are only available to those students who participated in the April 2018 audition process.
No additional students were placed on the cheerleading squads once the April 2018 audition process was closed. With the restructuring, the distribution of the cheerleaders was reallocated between the two squads.
Still, the board is reviewing the policy, though no further information on just what form future changes might take.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.