Oh Em Gee

I HATE drama. I just do. I do not have many close girl friends for that reason. This school year has been wonderful, and I think its mostly because my classes are 74% boys. Boys do not like drama.  Sixth grade girls are pretty dramatic. Cheerleaders are even more dramatic.  Put that all together and its a nightmare at times.

This past cheerleading season, I did not have much drama where cheerleaders are concerned.  I had little tiffs over who was going out with whom but the relationships never lasted longer than a day, so no biggy. My girls last year got their first kisses during football season (most by the same two guys – can we say playa?). All had straight As and Bs, I think only two Cs this school year!  It was a coach’s dream!

Which brings us to this year.  Tryouts were last Friday. I do not get to choose my squad. I have to hire judges to choose the squad, which means character has nothing to do who makes the team.  If it was me, I would choose totally on character.  I’m that good of a coach that we can still win competitions with a squad with less talent.  Since Friday, I have had reports of new squad members failing tests (and classes) and major conduct issues.  In addition I’ve had one say she was going to tryout for volleyball and if she makes it quit cheerleading and I’m a racist. I have a full email box with parents asking questions or defending their girls.  I had teachers tell me of sexting (yes in 6th & 7th grade!), them making out (beyond kissing) with guys in the parking lot, and we won’t even get into their facebook walls.

I am clueless where to start.  The girls had to sign a contract before trying out for squad that stated their conduct would be “above reproach.” I have a demerit system in place that allows for punishments for actions.  So yeah I can punish, but what good does it do?

As a coach (and yes I COACH cheerleading not sponsor) I feel somewhat responsible for teaching ethics and behavior.  I am with the girls in a less structured environment than a classroom teacher.  I think citizenship and sports (YES cheerleading is a sport) go hand and hand.

I just do not know where to start with these girls.  I do not know what to do.  I had a talk with two of them today (didn’t have much choice they were kicked out of class and instead of office he sent them to stand outside my room) and I really do not think they “get it.”  I do not think they understand that there are consequences for their actions nor the importance of choosing correct behavior.

I do not know the purpose really of writing this blog entry.  It is just something I am dealing with.  I HATE drama and I am buried pretty deep in it.  Maybe I just need advice.   It is easy to say, this is their parent’s job.  But for some reason once they are on my squad I feel like they are mine – part of my life in a large way.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. JJ says:

    The only way to make a strong statement is to make one of them an example. Kick one off and the rest will be scared!

  2. amandacdykes says:

    Yeah well it is not that easy. I have kicked girls off before, but in cheerleading that takes an act of congress. Cheerleading moms are quick to sue. THey know I have kicked one off because of behavior. They have a “it won’t happen to me” mindset. Plus, the girl that gets kicked learns nothing. That is not a goal.

  3. Coach says:

    I have been coaching for 10 years now, and one thing I have learned is that in every level there are going to be those that test everything you have set in front of them. I try my best to work hand in hand with the administration at each school I have been a part of, and in the best of situations that is huge. I try and make sure my players understand that it is a privilege to play sports, and they are help to a higher standard than a normal student. I let them know that if they get in trouble in school, then the school punishment will be what they get. I am not going to step in to save them, no matter what the situation. I will help them get through it, but they will accept the responsibility for their actions. If this forces them to miss time on the field for me, they will then deal with those consequences. I have always found that it is better to cut ties with the ones who feel the rules don’t apply to them. I know it is harder in Cheerleading, but in the last 2 years here where I am, the cheer coach has let go of over half the team each year. She does it like you – contract, independent judges, and demerit system…The administration supports her and there is never any backlash…Parents and kids sign the contract, and they consider it the law. Good luck in everything. I am sure it will work out the way it is supposed to.

  4. John with thoughts says:

    Amanda hi there,
    Interested in reading of your situation re the Cheerleaders!
    Reading the lines and between the lines (sic) I presume the highlighter shows the likely area of transgression,namely posting on social networks etc

    You say:
    I have a demerit system in place that allows for punishments for actions. So yeah I can punish, but what good does it do?

    20 Use of alcohol, drugs, smoking, etc. at any time in uniform or out of uniform, in school or out of school (including posting on social networking sites) OR any Class III Offense

    G. Anything that is posted on any social net-working sites or the internet that is questionable/against the constitution/ or portrays MHS cheerleaders in a poor light may result in suspension or removal from the squad depending on the severity of the incident as determined by the coach and/or the administration
    H. Cheerleaders will not receive varsity letters and/or plaques until the completion of both football and basketball seasons have ended and their obligations to the squad have been completed

    I have read the ‘Demerit Policy’ and Wow at 8 pages long, I mean to say what’s with that !
    I suggest if you ask the girls what they ‘are’ allowed to do (without getting into trouble) it would be ‘NOT much!’ There seems to be a lack understanding re being alongside the girls on the squad and working together with them but rather a ‘butt covering’ exercise to highlight all possible transgressions that they may fall into.

    C’mon, you know what girls are like, there will always be grief and bitchiness especially with 12+ girls all vying for attention and the lime-light, jealousy is a potent emotion within this dynamic.
    The problem here seems to be that this type of transgression results in 20 demerit points immediately, therefore the default action is either possible suspension or dismissal from the squad. I get the feeling that you feel compelled to act but the penalty is possibly too stiff, plus kicking a girl off the squad has it dangers for you or the school, but that’s not really a problem with 8 pages to their Contract.

    Yet the Demerit policy says ‘MAY result in suspension or removal from the squad’ There is a lot of room to move here…. Warning perhaps!

    Surely the response should be based on the severity or impact of offence and your action taken in light of that. I can’t imagine a girl, whose folks have spent $1700 odd on uniforms and other associated costs is setting out to be suspended or dismissed as this will result in a major loss of face and kudos amongst her peers.
    Surely the most painful action is to relegate them to a lesser role or promote someone else over them as this sends a firm message without a tirade from parents.

    You say.. “I feel somewhat responsible for teaching ethics and behavior. I am with the girls in a less structured environment than a classroom teacher.”

    This is your strength surely, the fact that the other teacher sent them to your class rather than the office indicates that he thought it did not warrant such a public action, perhaps he thought YOU could handle it better than he, or that the girls position on the Squad (I presume they are on the squad) would allow you to use that as a lever to correct their behaviour!

    I think you need to show leadership and Manage the situation…. Tell them it is a privilege to be on the squad not a right and that every day their actions prove their commitment to it and that there are girls who want to be there.
    But basically you have to step up to the mark (plate) and make the calls, as by default you are their advocate as well, so be flexible, besides they want to do the right thing by themselves and (I presume) the squad and you can teach them that ethics and behaviour have a role as well.

    I am on the other side of the world from you but also manage high school sports teams (as a parent) so I have a good idea of where your coming from, but I do need to say the whole cheerleader thing for me is really odd as it by defaults brings out both the best and worst of human nature especially in adolescent girls.

    be brave and stand your ground with empathy- set the example.

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