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Parents Say 11 MHS Cheerleaders Kicked Off Team for 'Senior Prank'

A "senior prank" involving dragging teammates mattresses out of their dorm rooms at cheer camp has resulted in 11 Monrovia High School cheerleaders getting kicked off their teams. Parents say district officials characterized the prank as "hazing."

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."

Andre September 01, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Less cheerleading and more english classes might be a good idea..
Andre September 01, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Not a good example of civilized discourse. Obviously an emotional topic for many. The district needs to take stern action to discourage future misbehavior. This is not about the 11. They made thier beds (no pun intended). It's about the rest of the student body and future student body.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 01, 2012 at 05:18 AM
24 hours later, it seems to me that we have a couple of factions here. This is rhetorical only, but I'm wondering how many who are so firmly convinced the girls should get everything coming to them were not cheerleaders, could not be cheerleaders (or jocks for the guys), and had bad experiences with them when they were young. I don't want the answer. I just want folks to think if maybe that's what's driving your own quest for a pound of flesh.
Alexa Ladd September 01, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Gayle, you really are reaching here in your attempt to psychoanalyze the motives of the people who disagree with you and thereby invalidate their opinions. Would you consider it possible that some of us feel the girls should be held accountable for no other reason than we believe their actions constitute hazing and bullying? I was a cheerleader at MHS but the fact that these girls were cheerleaders is irrelevant. They could have been members of Girls' League, or madrigals, or members of the chess club, or not affiliated with any organized club or sport at the school. It is their behavior toward the lower classmen at camp that concerns me. Also, the after-the-fact reactions of their parents, who seem narcissistic, entitled and insensitive, should in no way have an effect on the punishment the former cheerleaders receive, but it sure didn't do much to garner any good will among the people who support the decision of the school and board of ed.
Andre September 01, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Impressive, very well said.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 01, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Alexa, I'm not asking you to agree with me. I am trying to understand why people believe as they do. Cheerleaders always have been a unique form of beast within the class structure of high school. Some cheer, some pursue strict academic accolades, some play sports, some march in the band, some are effectively counter culture and only make the requisite appearance. Kids are not always kind to one another, sometimes driven by where they sit within that social structure. Sometimes, those attitudes pervade into life. Someone made the contention that they were bullied. I was a book nerd (we've come a long way, baby). Those memories often carry through in how we interact with one another. You see it at high school reunions (who sits together with whom), you see it in the workplaces as to who is more apt to get an opportunity all things being equal, and we see it in the way that people behave. All I asked was for people to consider their motives as to why some are so vehement in their desire to punish these girls. We agree that they should be accountable. We simply disagree on what constitutes accountability. If I understand what drives you, it makes it easier to look for commonalities we share, and those are the things they teach you to look for in work life classes long past high school.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 01, 2012 at 09:55 PM
And to add to my point of spillover into adult life, I was found on Facebook by a classmate I had gone to school with more than 45 years ago. We had a lot of fun in school and occasional touchpoints through time, and it's nice to be acquainted. But one of the things I said to her was "You guys used to call me Albert Einstein or The Walking Encyclopedia." She said, "Yes, I remember doing that. Sorry." It doesn't hurt now with the dilution of time, but those memories have been retained even now. I'm happy to be reacquainted, but there was a time in life when being smart was a reason to be bullied by those who were cute.
Jill Ramirez September 01, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I was resistant to comment on this topic because it is easy for someone to read your post and take your every written word out of context. Personally, I dont agree nor disagree with the boards decision but the fact is, it is the boards decision. It was Mr. Jackson decision to discipline the students, and further leave it in hands of the school board. My son has played sports at MHS and I can assure you, the contract that they sign is black & white as per the behavior in and out of uniform. It states that they represent their team, their coach, the school & city. This contract is signed by both the parents and student. The parents attend a team meeting at the beginning of the season to go over expectations. Do I think what the girls did was the worse thing in the world, no not really. But the fact is, this was the property of UCSB. This was not property of MHS, the cheer team, or even of the other girls, property of the college. Some one mentioned above (or on the other post) about Disneyland. My son doesnt get the chance of going to Grad Night at Disneyland as a senior because a few years ago seniors, who signed behavior contracts to attend, misbehaved and therefore MHS is not allowed to attend Grad Night. What those seniors did is hindsight to them, but affects the seniors to come. What these girls did affects cheer camp for years to come. If they truly just want to cheer, they should be allowed to try out for JV or Frosh for winter, we will see how much they want to cheer.
Cyndi Bolander September 02, 2012 at 05:22 PM
These girls are seniors, nearly adults. Regardless of one believing the punishment was to harsh, anyone familiar with MUSD knows of the their zero tolerance policy. Fair or not, these girls are old enough to have know that this was a potentially dangerous, not to mention stupid thing to do.
R Terry September 02, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Potentially dangerous? Come on...snap out of it! What a world we live in. It's OK to protest putting small businesses out of business, threaten police officers, use the public space as a bathroom and be high on drugs the whole time and have the blessing of city administrators. But doing a harmless school prank is elevated to near high crime...make the girls do some unpleasant task everyday for a month at the school and write apologies to all affected. These school boards have some sort of irrational crime enforcement attitudes with no common sense.
SgtJackWagon September 05, 2012 at 05:07 PM
What! This blog is for responses to the topic at hand, not one for jokes by unemployed comedians. Com'on Gayle. Nothing personal, but just a cliche' that I feel is appropriate for all and myself. I heard it first this way, but is taken from the Bible Proverbs 17:28. "Even a fool is considered wise, if he says nothing."
cindy September 05, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Gayle, i'm sorry but really is this what your life is now? The girls got their punishment, i think that maybe the senior privildges should be restored but getting kicked off the squad is appropriate punishment. I'm sure that other students will learn from theur punishment and not follow their footsteps, i hope. Some people have taken this too far as commenting on everyone else comments, now its time to let it go and get a life.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
SgtJack, I invite you to back away and not assume my backside is a pony ride. The comment was said to appeal to the teenaged girls, some of which may have met my grandson when he spent the better part of the year, and including this summer at the Y and hanging out with some of the girls in town. You may want to get to the doctor to see if there is something that will restore your sense of humor.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Cindy, I let it go last weekend. You are back again commenting on it. I am only responding to those who make direct comments on it directed to or about me today. So let's move on.
Holly Hale September 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM
@Alexa: Very well said. Excellent analysis as it occurs on every thread and every topic. Thank you for your comments.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 05, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Holly, you just cannot help it, can you?
Mic Mowery September 05, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I think we should all stop with any comments & just let Gayle go at it. She is like the energy bunny! She keeps going! & Going! & Going! & Going! & Going! & Going.
cindy September 05, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Gayle this is only my first comment, how many do you have.
cindy September 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM
LIKE!!!
Gayle M. Montgomery September 05, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Cindy, stating the obvious here. There is no quota as to the number of posts. I stopped talking about this thread somewhere over the weekend. I have only responded to that which has had my name attached to it. If you do not want me to respond, do not address your post to me. It's as simple as that. In addition, if you do not want me to respond, do not talk about me. I've moved on to several other threads, but I get email alerts when there are responses to this thread.
Holly Hale September 05, 2012 at 11:59 PM
@Mic: Yes, and she thinks every comment is about her. I think there's a name for that.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Holly, would you please explain to these fine folks what the real bee in your bonnet is, when the subject was cleaning up Monrovia, and I did not agree with you because you wanted to decide what your neighbors could and could not have on their porches in their back yards, or homes, and wanted the group to act as vigilantes. Now, you swipe and snarl and mask with she and her, but both of us know whom you are speaking of. By the way, Holly, there's a name for that behavior, too. This is now the third thread you've tried to pick a specific fight. I see your name and comments, count to 10, and try not to personalize it. You would be wise to do the same. How many different tries have you had in just this one this afternoon to get the vigilante squad going. Drop it like it's hot, Holly. It is. It is a great big Patch, and there are plenty more fora to square this wrong.
Mic Mowery September 06, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Talk about bullying? MY GOD GAYLE! Just let the train leave the station! Give it a rest... Why do you feel you need a hit on every person that has a comment? With regards to your believes or not?? COME ON! WOMAN? You are not God! Step up? Or step down?
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I have opted to leave this thread and will see nothing further unless you find me elsewhere on the Patch. I am not leaving because some have asked me to stop but to keep me from speaking of the ancestors of some who just don't get it. I was done with this thread last weekend. I said what I had to say, said it again if I felt it needed repeating, modified my position as new evidence became available, and repeated if it was germane to that part of the discussion. Then I moved on. I got pulled back when there were some late to the parties who may only be Patching at work (allowing for the delay) who then asked me specific questions or directed specific commentary to me. If you ask me, if you talk to or about me, I will respond. There is one here who carried animus from a previous thread some weeks back and chose to me too. It was no longer a question of what was best for the girls, it was what is the matter with Gayle and Gayle needs to shut up, that it was none of our business. It was everyone's business when we all chimed in. It was put out here on the Patch with opportunity and invitation to comment. But there is no limit on the number of postings allowed, nor are any of the rest of you the moderator of the Patch. If you do not know where your delete key, it is probably on the right side of your keyboard, and the First Amendment is still the law of the land.
Gayle M. Montgomery September 06, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I do not regret standing up for the girls or taking the position that. while I believe they deserved punishment, that which was administered did not match the crime, and that I do not beleive we would have kicked 11 of our football players off this close to the season. But we also talked about the subject of bullying and, as I leave this thread, I will tell you that what has been in evidence here was that which we try to steer our children from. Bullying. Had I a less strong character, i would have been hurt by some of the remarks that were made. You stopped talking about the children, and turned it to the fact that some of you believed I should be silenced. Whether me or anyone else, that is bullying. Saying things so as to shame me into not posting, inferring I was mentally unstable and "there's a name for that". As I indicated above, I have left the thread. It doesn't serve any more purpose, and there are other threads of merit. If you click on an author's name, you can see all they are involved in, and I have clearly moved on. I wish you well, and I will see you around the web and in town. If you do not want your children to bully, set the tone. Seems some of you could benefit from that education.
Gguest2013 September 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I'm with you Guest. These girls acted irresponsibly and took their "traditional prank" (if there should even be such a thing) too far. They should know better being seniors. The underclass cheerleaders are looking up to them. I say they take the punishment they have sown and learn from this. And in the future, MHS cheerleaders should always strive to show themselves as smart, a class act that their school & town can be proud of, not a bunch of ditzy airheads. We had only 7 cheerleaders at the Ayala game last Friday, with no apparent leadership - they are almost all new to cheer. They did their best but honestly, we looked pretty sad. Those seniors should feel ashamed of themselves and not blame anyone else.
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S. L. Tittle September 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM
When parents give permission for their daughters to attend a school sponsored event, they expect the school to adequately supervise and return their children safely. People seem comfortable putting blame on the children. The responsibility is really distributed in three portions. Responsibility for this incident began when Principal Jackson sent an immature or ill-repared school-employed advisor to an off campus school sponsored event. The advisor was the second adult who failed to meet her responsibilities. I've been told she is no longer employed by MHS. Makes you wonder if she were blameless. The third portion goes to the girls. Teenagers do sometimes make poor decisions. Neurological exams revel their brains are physiologically different from adults. They did participate in an ill-advised prank. I can find no evidence that any objects sustained damage. No girls were injured. So what does it say about us as a community if we joyfully throw these children under the wheels of the 'school' bus? Successful families, educators, and communities provide the means for children to learn and to return to good standing. I see the judge, jury and executioner, but I don't see educators turning this into a teaching moment or a learning experience.
Margeaux Rox September 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Whew. you got on her bad side, Ms. Hale. Now she hates us both.
Margeaux Rox September 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM
This popped up in my email box so I read through it. All I have to say is if I did anything to destroy anybody's property when I was a kid, whether is was their backpack or a mattress in a hotel, my daddy would have whipped my butt. I was never the cheerleader type since we traveled with the military but you can trust me, we were taught to respect other people's property. SL Tittle, you and I both know teenage girls have a serious mean streak so God knows what they really did, what they meant, and so on.

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