Nearly a dozen cheerleaders have been kicked off the varsity cheer squad at after they pulled a "senior prank" during cheer camp earlier this summer, parents said.
The district removed 11 girls from the varsity cheer squad, suspended their senior privileges and suspended them for the first two days of school after they were involved in a senior prank that allegedly went awry, according to parents.
The senior girls pulled the prank during cheer camp at UC Santa Barbara in early August, said parent Elizabeth Rivera Rios. Senior girls pulled out the mattresses from the dormrooms of underclassmen and left them in the hallway, Rios said. A few of the mattresses fell off an upper floor to a floor down below, but they were quickly retrieved, Rios said.
"They decided to take out the mattresses and put them in the hallway as a joke," Rios said. "We’re just outraged that the consequences are this severe."
Monrovia Unified School District Superintendent Linda Wagner told Patch via email that the district would not discuss the incident because it involved confidential student information.
"I'm sure there is interest in this issue, however because the incident relates to students it is confidential from the school's perspective," Wagner wrote. "We are not in a position to discuss it."
Rios said the only property destroyed as a result of the prank was some make-up belonging to an underclassman. She said she was not aware of any complaints from any cheerleaders upset about the prank even though the district has characterized the incident as "hazing" to parents.
The parents of the cheerleaders appealed directly to the district earlier this month but were told last week that the punishment would not change, parent Tracy Sheffer said.
Sheffer said the cheerleading coach was aware of the prank. She and other parents will campaign to have the coach fired and plan to argue their case directly to the school board at Wednesday night's meeting, Sheffer said.
Sheffer said none of the girls expected the prank to result in their dismissal from the squad.
"They had no idea that they’d get removed off the cheer squad," Sheffer said. "As parents, we do believe that they need to be punished but we don’t believe the consequences that they were given need to be this extreme."
Rios said her daughter, who has been on the cheer squad since she was a freshman, has been distraught over the district's decision. She is also concerned that it will affect her future should she choose to pursue cheerleading beyond high school.
"Cheer is their passion, this is not their hobby," Rios said. "They were pursuing this for college. This could be detrimental to my child’s future and I’m very upset about that."