1. Education

A parent complained when her child didn't make the cheer squad. So the school board made tryouts 'more inclusive'

New Jersey parents are frustrated with a high school because of an "inclusive" policy that proposes that everyone who tries out for its cheerleading squads should be accepted. [Times files]
New Jersey parents are frustrated with a high school because of an "inclusive" policy that proposes that everyone who tries out for its cheerleading squads should be accepted. [Times files]
Published May 10, 2018

New Jersey parents are frustrated with a high school because of an "inclusive" policy that proposes that everyone who tries out for its cheerleading squads should be accepted.

A parent whose child tried out for a spot on the cheerleading squad at Hanover Park High School, in East Hanover, complained to administration after her child didn't make the cut.

A letter on May 7 from the Hanover Park Regional High School District Board of Education described a new system for accepting members to the more elite Black Team and the White Team.

The old system required students trying out to score an "87 or better" on a rubric to be eligible to join the Black Squad --- but 6 students were able to join. The score was lowered to 78 to allow five more students to join, according to the letter.

Ultimately, the school board opted out of the scoring system all together.

"The high school administration decided to be more inclusive and not penalize any student from making the squad that did not achieve a score of "87 or better," the letter read. "Therefore, the structural change was made so that the five students with the scores of "78 – 86" were not removed from the Black Squad."

The change would allow more students participate in the cheerleading activities, the letter read. The cheer advisors also told school administrators that the change wouldn't be too much for them to handle.

The new changes determined that students in Grades 11 and 12 will make up the Black Squad, while students in Grades 9 and 10 will make up the White Squad.

Stephanie Krueger, a student at the school, told board of education members all her hard work "has been thrown out the window."

"All the time I've spent in my cheer gym practicing, constantly flipping, practicing my jumps, all was just like gone," she told CBS2. "I can't believe, like, my hard work just dropped. It's like telling a football player — your star varsity football player — they can't play anymore because we want to make it all inclusive."

And some parents say when they complained about the new policy, the principal threatened to disband the squads entirely.

"My biggest gripe is if you want to make a change, do it for next season. But don't do it for this season. You already had the tryout," Stephanie Krueger's mom, Lisa Krueger, also told CBS2.

Another cheerleading parent told CBS2 this decision doesn't prepare children for life outside of school.

"I think it's a bad precedent because this really actually isn't the way the world is," Sharon Iossa said. "Everybody doesn't get a trophy. You can't be a Giants player just because you play football."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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