Male Highschool Cheerleader Suspended, Kicked Off Squad For Same-Sex Kiss

Comments

2
Did anyone else assume that their mascot is Ann B. Davis, or was that just me?
3
Now THAT'S a clear call to the flying monkeys.

Sigh. Let me go get my wings.
4
I'm super happy that this kid's family is being supportive of him.

& yer damn skippy if he was caught kissing a girl, this wouldn't be an issue.

Poor cheerleader boy. Definitely worth Emailing/link-sharing about. Can't wait for this country to grow up already..
5
Too bad he didn't attend Dorothy High.

Thank smart people for the internet; makes it so much easier to put the spotlight on these pockets of intolerance and show them for the fools they are. Hope his family stands behind him and kicks that school's ass.
6
What you said, Eva @4.
7
Two things:

Schools have an insane amount of latitude when responding to "distracting" behaviors.

And, of course this story comes from Texas.
8
Spying?

Really, Danny?

Please. Put on some dry panties then we'll discuss it....

Ready?

Schools have a Responsibility to keep an eye on their campuses. To keep students safe.

Spying?

A little paranoid, aren't we?
9
Outing him?

Really, Danny?

Is kissing boys in public usual closeted behavior?
We'll take your word for it.

(like him spending YEARS practicing for the cheer squad wasn't a big fat hint....)
10
Makes my blood run cold, this sort of thing. Stinks of Jim Crow.
11
This from a state run by Rick Perry! Just saying!
12
I never thought I'd say this, but: I wish life were more like Glee. Then the cheerleading squad would boycott all the games until he was reinstated, or at the very least do a Christina Agulera medley in support of him before a teacher made a treacly speech about acceptance.
14
I would think they would be surprised if a male cheerleader WASN'T gay.
15
@14 In the land of G.W. Bush, they wouldn't be surprised if a male cheerleader was gay. Just sober and able to cheer and chew gum at the same time.

@2 I've always said you couldn't pay me enough to go back to high school again. But I would very much like to go to the high school where Ann B. Davis was the mascot. Very very much.

Also, I suppose I wouldn't mind high school so much if I could kiss boys in the high school. But apparently, that still isn't happening.
17
E-mail sent. No bounce-back yet.
18
Flood them with faxes!
19
@15, I'd pay anything to go back to high school in spite of all the nonsense there, if only I could reverse a few decisions I took at the time that I've been trying to make up for ever since....

@17, no bounce-back here either. I wonder if "Jim Crow" was on the list of terms to be screened out by their system.
20
@14- My dad was a cheerleader. You get to put your hand on the female cheerleader's butts as part of the job.
21
My e-mail didn't go through. Copied and pasted the e-mail. Used the word "gender" for "sex." It bounced back. No reason given other than saying it was undeliverable.
22
Mine seems to have gone through. I didn't use any big words t all, mostly little words like "shame" and "lawsuit."

"You suspended a boy for kissing another boy? Shame, shame. I bet you can't point to your harsh record of suspensions for boys kissing girls. Haven't you been paying attention? This kind of thing just isn't allowed anymore. You don't get to single out the gay kids now. If all the videos and blog posts and negative consequences for other school districts haven't taught you this, I suppose you will just have to face the barrage of emails, phone calls, faxes and potential lawsuits for yourself. Maybe the next principal will be a bit wiser. I sure hope so, this stuff is getting very, very old. "
23
My emails went through. I used the phrase "kissing his boyfriend." Apparently kissing and boyfriend are approved words, as are masculine pronouns.

24
Ooop. Spoke too soon. Looks as if they've disabled that mailbox.
25
@24:
Yep. Mine bounced.
26
Mine bounced for the principal, but went through to the rest of the administration.
27
Mine bounced and I didn't have any nasty words what so ever.
29
Here's the easy way to sue the school.

Straight PDA's in school ARE punished. Sure they get away with it more. But teachers DO punish kids for this kind of thing.

So... When you sue, request a record, sans names, of the last 50 or so kids that were disciplined for kissing on school grounds.

Chances are they didn't get suspended, and didn't get kicked off anything.

At my school kissing was a detention.
30
Dan, I normally agree with you. I think that your impulses in this case are good ones. But as a public school teacher, I ask that in the future you try to get the school's side before you send the flying monkeys. I know this is hard to believe, but sometimes teenagers don't have the most accurate assessment of their own behaviors and the rationale behind consequences. And, while it would be nice and ethical if schools worried about the impact of "outing" a student (although I would also argue that if you're kissing in school, you're fairly willing to be outed), they legally cannot discuss a student's disciplinary record. The problem is that the school's hands are tied, but the kid can go and talk to every media outlet between there and Mars.

Again, I don't want to be seen as "blaming the victim." If, in fact, this boy has been treated differently because he's gay then yes, this school deserves everything it gets. But appearances don't make it fact, and schools and teachers are often the butt of relatively baseless accusations. You don't want to be in a position of accidently throwing a good school under the bus.
31
normally I side with the school in cases like this: Some of the gay kids in high school I knew where hyper-defensive whiny bitches who delighted in pushing peoples buttons and creating drama; then they'd cry about being targeted for being gay when the reality was everyone was sick of their piss-poor attitude.

But if the kid was caught on security camera just kissing? That sounds very unfair. I can't imagine a straight kid/couple being punished similarly.

As far as outting this student - if they took the time to TRY to find him snogging on a security tape... i'm sure everyone knew he was gay.
32
30

you obviously have no idea what slog or our little danny are about.

but your impulses are admirable.

pearls before rutting swine, true, but admirable.....
33
our little danny has a crush on beefy butch lesbian aclu lawyers.
they are the most masculine individuals he ever encounters....
34
@30, eh, as much as I realize that in theory I agree with you... just no. There's little to no room to wiggle out of the fact that according to other parents of kids at that school:

"...one cheerleader who had a child and another who is currently pregnant are still on the team and have not faced any disciplinary action."

The school has sent a fairly clear message with its disciplinary policies in invoking this cheer handbook (lol) of theirs: teen pregnancy is in bounds, boys kissing is not. If that doesn't lead any rational person seriously question the motives of the administration as discriminatory, I don't know what would.

People should be looking into this, and the school has provided their own release (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i//MSNBC/Secti…). That release does indeed imply that the kiss wasn't the reason for the suspension, though it doesn't address booting him from the squad.

And I guess my point is: whatever you believe or are still waiting for information on, Dan is hardly putting the school in any kind of situation by providing likely google-able contact information for administrators on his blog when the story is on MSNBC.com.
35
Chuck Smith, Deputy Executive Director of Equality Texas, posted this elsewhere:

"Equality Texas has pulled existing Alice High School policies that would seem to govern the situation involving a male cheerleader who was suspended and discharged from the squad for being seen kissing another boy on a recorded surveillance tape.

"It appears that the punishment applied to this particular student exceeds that called for, even if a surveillance tape qualifies as public display of affection (is it public if no one was actually there?).

"Public displays of affection are not mentioned in the conduct section of the Student Handbook.

"Cheerleaders are subject to a three-strike rule, and PDA would count as one strike.

"Cheerleader Handbook: http://ahs.aliceisd.net/www/AliceISD_AHS…

"Cheerleader Constitution: http://ahs.aliceisd.net/www/AliceISD_AHS…

"Student Handbook: http://www.aliceisd.net/download.axd?fil…

"Hopefully, the local on-campus review will result in reinstatement to the squad, as the current disciplinary action does not appear to conform to school policy."

36
@35 - I'd like to just take a moment to acknowledge the phrase "Cheerleader Constitution.'
37
What happened to the boy he was kissing?
38
@32 I've been reading Savage Love since... 1994?

Dan is smart... but he is not principled. He has decided that the ends justify the means. Perhaps because this is the tact that religious fundamentalists and social conservatives have used, but sinking to their level does nothing to justify himself. He went through a blessed conservative phase (not politically) in the early 2000's, but that's gone, alas.
As someone who is much more interested in racially based rights and equality than gay rights and equality [1. I am black; 2. One cannot be a closeted black person*; 3. bullying included, the situation is much, much, much more grim for black youths than gay youth] I fail to have much outrage when gay people are discriminated against... which is why the moral high road is the only argument which will ever appeal to me.
39
Yep, looks like they disabled the mailbox. Mine bounced back too, because it could not connect.
40
@34 - the more that comes out the more that this kids seems unfairly targeted.

And yet, if one cheerleader got another cheerleader pregnant _at school_ it would be a very different conversation, wouldn't it? I'm all for sexual liberation, but I don't want kids sexually liberating themselves in the bathroom at my place of work. The kid wasn't punished for kissing a boy ever, just for kissing someone in a stairwell.

Again, not saying "do nothing." Just placing a "pause" before "do something."
41
37
he got herpes.....
42
@38, the statistics say differently. From SPLC's analysis of hate crimes (you said bullying, I know, but still):

"The figures show that homosexuals are 2.4 times more likely to suffer a violent hate crime attack than Jews (8.3 divided by 3.5). In the same way, gays are 2.6 times more likely to be attacked than blacks; 4.4 times more likely than Muslims; 13.8 times more likely than Latinos; and 41.5 times more likely than whites, according to the FBI figures. The basic pattern holds by years as well as across the years.

"The bottom line: Homosexuals are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime."

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/in…
43
38ftw

Dan is the faggot version of Fred Phelps.
EXACTLY the SAME bigotry and hate,
just vomited up on different targets.....
44
42

the splc are laughable attention whores who pimp HATE! to suck donations out of credulous liberals (redundant, we know...)

the statistics you cite are based on the assumption that homosexuals are 2.1% of the population.
any of the loyal slog fanboys will tell you the actual figure is closer to 10%, meaning jews and blacks are actually victims twice as often as homosexuals.
45
I live in North Texas (DFW), and my high school had at least one male cheerleader. (I didn't pay much attention to sports.)

I can't say that all the teachers at my school were "tolerant" (I specifically knew of some who would single out gay kids kissing in the hallway), but I'm so thankful to have attended a school where the principal was supportive. He even sat in on the first GSA meeting to show his support. Too bad this kid wasn't so lucky, but hopefully this incident will pave the way for change.
46
42

and many attacks are miscounted as homophobic hate crimes.
"faggot" is a popular pejorative
often used without regard of actual sexual deviancy.
Just yelling "faggot"
gets a generic drunken assault
upgraded to a Blasphemy against The Holy Gay...
47
@44: Okay, if 10% of the population is gay, gays only suffer 1.74 times the average level of hate crimes. Your point?
I mean, you really don't seem to get how numbers work; hell, you still think that 20% of Teh Ghey has Teh Ayds!
@46: Evidence of this? I defy you to present just one case recorded as an anti-gay hate crime that actually had nothing to do with sexual orientation.
48
@7 I knew someone would start Texas-bashing. It's a reflex; I understand. But that high school is mostly Hispanic in a mostly Hispanic part of Texas.

I do, however, applaud your effort to knead Hispanics into the intolerant redneck stereotype dough you bake your bigoted cookies from.
49
@ 30 - a good school will be able to point to a record of evenhanded behaviour. A good school will have clear policies in place, and proof that they are followed. A spotlight shone on a good school will only reveal decent and fair practices, and thus do no harm. The days of off the cuff disciplinary practices are long gone, and good schools and good teachers know that.

I work in a daycare, and every time I put a child in time-out or physically restrain a child I have to document my actions, and the reasons behind them. I know that my actions can and will be scrutinized, and make damn sure I'm behaving reasonably and with the good of the child in mind. If a high school doesn't have policies in place to ensure that the good of the child is a top priority, and be *proven* to be a top priority, it isn't a good school, and deserves its place under that bus.
50
@49 - Absolutely agreed. But can you agree that we, anonymous folk on the internet, might not have access to all the information to make a judgement about whether or not that is happening? Just because something seems unfair on the surface, doesn't mean it actually is. Don't you think some of those daycare kids go home and say that you were "so mean" to them for putting them in time out? Even if you believe you were acting fairly? Imagine if they had access to cable news outlets. Wouldn't you want someone to hear your side of the story before bombarding you with faxes and emails?

Again, reiterating, not standing up blindly on the side of the school. But not standing up blindly for an adolescent who claims he's been wronged either.
51
@48, where did 7 invoke an intolerant redneck stereotype? And why can't Hispanics be intolerant rednecks? I met plenty when I lived in Texas.
52
Coming from Europe, I find it bizarre that there are rules against public displays of affection in US schools. What's that all about?
53
@32 and 33

You constantly refer to "our little Danny," both here and in other SLOG response columns.

Pray, who constitutes "Our"? or "We"? Are you speaking for some unacknowledged collective organization? Or are you a member of a royal family, like a queen?

Last time I looked around my house, I didn't have a Danny, little or otherwise.
54
@50 - but the school does have a chance to tell its side. Not of this particular story, because of confidentiality, but they can say "Here are our policies" and "This is our system to ensure evenhanded enforcement of policies" and "This is our review process for suspensions" and so on. If this was not in fact an arbitrary and bigoted action, they can do a lot to dispel the image that it was.
55
Your message has encountered delivery problems
to the following recipient(s):

lmunoz1@aliceisd.ec2.net
Delivery failed
Unable to deliver mail to the specified host
56
@ 42: Where are the disabled on that list of minorities who are targeted by hate-crimes, I wonder?
57
Dear Principal Munoz,

I understand your school is having problems because a gay or bisexual young man was kicked off a cheerleading squad for kissing another boy. The solution is simple: Create an official, orientation-independent rule about kissing on campus and what the punishment for it is, and apply it consistently.

You can still position yourself well if you say, "The real problem isn't anti-gay discrimination. The problem is that we didn't have clear rules. Now we do."

As for the boy himself, you should probably let him back onto the squad. After all, kissing is common at your school and he had no reason to think that he was breaking any rules. He was giving you and your staff the benefit of the doubt when he assumed that he would not be subject to punishments to which heterosexual kissers were not subject. Validate his faith in you.

-(My real name)
58
The mail box was shut down. So, I sent my letter to the superintendent and it appears to have gone through:

drscavazos@aliceisd.net

Dear Superintendent Cavazos,

I have attempted to send email directly to Ms. Munoz but the email bounces back as "undeliverable."

This is what I want her, and you, to know.

Children across our country are being driven to suicide as a result of the bullying to which they are subject because they do not appear to be "straight." It is heartbreaking to realize how much of the bullying comes not from other students but from the very adults who are acting "in loco parentis."

Ms. Munoz' decision to remove a male cheerleader from cheer squad because he kissed a boy is reprehensible bigotry.

We are what is sometimes considered a "traditional" family in that we consist of male husband married lawfully to a female wife and we are the biological parents of a male 16-year-old who is attracted to girls and not to boys and a female 18-year-old who is attracted to boys and not to girls.

We would never entrust our children to a school at which Ms. Munoz held a position of power.

We are, in fact, horrified by her flagrant disregard for for the rules set forth by the school's student handbook, cheerleader handbook and "cheerleader constitution," let alone by her flagrant disregard for human dignity and decency.

If Ms. Munoz remains employed by the school district, we hope you ensure she receives the training and education she desperately needs.

In our opinion, Ms. Munoz should make a public apology and resign. She is an embarrassment to your school district and, having brought national attention to her hateful act, to the state of Texas (where we have enough trouble with our reputation).

We have read that your current cheerleading squad includes a young woman who is already a mother and another who is pregnant. We don't know if these girls engaged in the act of kissing, but we're relatively certain some intimate contact occurred. Ms. Munoz press statement, in which she claims that "Alice ISD does not discriminate against students in issuing discipline" is obviously inaccurate.

Regards,
59
i can't believe i'm about to admit this.....but hilariously enough, i grew up in Alice, TX and graduated from Alice High School in 1996..... i haven't lived there since then (WHEW!).....but my family still does. :-)

sadly, this story doesn't surprise me.

the hypocrisy is overwhelming.....

from what i have been told by friends still living in Alice (poor souls), the cheerleader with the baby was kicked off the squad last year, but was given the opportunity to try out again this year and subsequently made the squad again. the cheerleader who is currently pregnant was not kicked off the squad with the caveat (are you ready for this?) that she not participate in any.....tumbling. Seriously?!?!?!?

FURTHERMORE.....the kiss between the two boys was caught on a SECURITY CAMERA in THE BAND HALL INSTRUMENT LOCKER that is used to DETER THEFT. Nobody screens that footage unless they're given a reason to. Hrmmm....

the whole thing reeks to high heaven.
i hope he sues the ever loving shit out of AISD.

Good on that kid for alerting the media!!! Maybe it will put the Fear of Perez into these idiot school administrators.

On the lighter side....this is not the first time Alice, Texas has garnered national attention.....in 1996 Alice was in the spotlight for an Ebola outbreak at a primate research facility on the outskirts of town, and most recently was a national laughing stock because of a story involving the Mayor stealing a neighbor's dog.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/dec/23/…

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-…

i'm so thankful i made it out alive and well-adjusted!
60
I think that asking a pregnant woman to refrain from tumbling is quite reasonable.

Those girls aren't the enemy, in fact the way they are being treated is the best sign that the school is ready for the last push to get it over the line into being an accepting environment for all of its students. In a truly bigoted sex negative school, they'd also be shamed and shunned.
61
I should amend my earlier comment to say that it has always been the rule at AHS to remove girls who become pregnant from the cheerleading squad because they are public representatives of the school, blah blah blah....

So I find it hypocritical of the administration to allow those girls to remain on the squad, and at the same time, remove someone else for a kiss they didn't agree with.

Furthermore, pregnancy at AHS is rampant. No one has ever been shunned or asked to leave the school because of it. They even offer daycare services for students' children.

So this excuse of the male cheerleader disobeying the rules is completely debunked by the administration's blatant disregard for the "rules" when it came to the girls.

I truly believe they sought to "catch" this kid doing something "wrong" so they could remove him from the squad for for being gay without having to say as much.

And they assumed they'd get away with it.

It is no surprise that email inboxes have been disabled.
It is no surprise that there has been no additional statement by the Administration.

They're frozen like bunnies, hoping if they are very very quiet and still, no one will see them and this will all go away.

I encourage everyone to write letters to the editor of the Alice Echo News. They will print them all, provided you give them your name.

Let the cowards block their email.
Put it in the paper for the entire community to read.

Alice Echo-News Journal
405 E Main
Alice, TX 78332
62
The paper also has a FaceBook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-Echo…

AHS's FB Page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alice-High…

They may moderate the comments, but there it is.
63
@38 Hate is hate. It hurts all of our youth. It is better to work together on issues of discrimination for race, gender and sexual orientation rather than single one or the other as more important. There is no hierarchy of oppression.

They are, after all, not mutually exclusive. They are intertwined.
64
This deserves a post, and soon:
https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advo…
65
THIS JUST IN:

Cheerleader To Remain Off Squad Statement released by AHS Principal Lucy Munoz at 3 p.m. Monday: [OCTOBER 17]

The Alice I.S.D. has recently reviewed the recent removal of a student from the Alice High School Cheerleading Squad. After reviewing the Alice I.S.D. Student Code of Conduct and the Cheer Program Handbook, the removal will stay in effect. The student’s parents are in agreement with the district’s decision.

The student code of conduct and cheer handbook are designed to improve conduct and encourage students to adhere to their responsibilities as members of the school community. The student and parents are clearly aware that the student was not removed from the squad for kissing another student at school. While the student is free to discuss certain aspects of his discipline in the media, the District cannot discuss the specifics of this incident and must respect the privacy rights of the students involved in this matter.
66
@65: Yes, Alleged has been smearing that all over the comment threads. Now what we need to see is whether the school is blowing smoke or telling the truth. Can we get the student's rebuttal?
67
The point here, I think, is to let schools know that if the appearance of discrimination exists, the spotlight will be shone upon them. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about. A flood of emails may be unpleasant, but it's not harmful.

This also points out something else that we'd do well to keep in mind - when writing our protests, we need to keep our language under control. Spewing threats and profanity is not the way to go. We're the good guys, the ones on the high road. There's no need to descend into the muck with the haters.
68
67

right.

sorry we wrongly executed your husband, ma'am.
(but we're sure must have been guilty of 'something'.....)
69
@66, @67 - Exactly.

By refusing to discuss the circumstances under which the student WAS removed from the squad, if it wasn't about the kiss, the administration STILL looks like a bunch of cowardly bigots.

The fact that the boy's parents were in full support of their son in the media and have suddenly made an about-face is fishy as hell.

Either the kid cried wolf, or was given a "shut up or else" kind of ultimatum from the admin.

Now that this has hit the national stage, this mealy-mouthed statement from the school just doesn't cut it.

There's also this disparity of discipline regarding students who have been allowed to remain on the squad despite egregious violations of this almighty Cheerleader Code of Conduct, which, "holds this group of students to a higher standard than the general population."

I suppose those standards are pretty ambiguous, eh?

Hypocritical? Yes.
Discriminatory? Yes.
Gay bashing? I guess the jury's still out on that one.
70
Recent interview with the student:

http://www.kztv10.com/mobile/viewstory.c…
71
@68 What? How is that a response to what I said?

If the school has done nothing wrong, then the media spotlight, the emails - they won't hurt it. A bright light can't hurt you if you have nothing to hide. There's no "execution" here.

Meanwhile, schools which may be tempted to behave in a bigoted fashion are watching this, and, we hope, getting the point.

As I said earlier, I work with other people's children. When you work with kids, you don't just get to do whatever you feel like. You are held to standards, and need to be able to prove that you are following policies, that you are working on behalf of the child. Any school should be ready, at any time, to be under examination. If they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about.
72
according to this article in today's Time magazine, the student and his parents, though they do not agree with the decision of the administration, will not be pursuing any further legal action.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/19/stud…
73
@42, fair pull on the statistics - but black youth are waaay more likely to fall victim to regular-old violent crime, regardless of any hate-enhancement. Does it matter? To me, yes - black people have had it worse for generations. Either we're genetically, intellectually, inferior to nice white people... or we're still the victims of pervasive discrimination and victimization. Since scientists can't seem to spot a genetic difference, I'll tend to side with the later.