Cheerleading rumors lead to temporary cancellation
With rumors about the cheerleading team flying last week, Principal Madelyn Ball “put it on hold” temporarily. After a meeting with Ball and Dean of Students Thomas Vierheller on Sept. 21, the team is back to cheering.
“Their behavior has not been like a team and it just got to a crescendo. I spend way too much time dealing with cheerleading problems. I think they needed a wake-up call,” Ball said.
According to sources on the team, team members spread rumors that other team members were participating in illicit activities, leading to bickering within the squad.
Ball cancelled cheerleading practice Thursday, Sept. 20. That evening, she met with cheerleading coaches Gina Day, Merribeth Morisi, and Kerri Patchak.
At this meeting, Ball suggested to the coaches that “if [the cheerleaders] exhibit certain behaviors, they’re to be dismissed from practice immediately.”
According to Ball, she also told the coaches that it was up to their discretion when it was time to remove a girl from the team based on breaking protocol.
“If it had happened on the girls’ lacrosse team or the girls’ soccer team, the coach would’ve said ‘get out of here.’ If you’re going to be a team, you’ve got to behave like one,” Ball said.
On Friday, Sept. 21, Ball and Vierheller met with the entire cheerleading team “to set the parameters of how they can work in the future so that they can have a real clear picture of what’s expected of them and what will not be tolerated,” Ball said.
At the team meeting, Ball stressed her discontent with the cheerleaders’ behavior and their inattention to the mission statement.
“The cheerleading squad has been operating outside the mission of the school. Part of the mission statement is about sensitivity to others, and they had not been demonstrating that. The girls agreed,” Ball said.
“When we went into the meeting,” one source on the team said, “Ms. Ball said she first heard about something and was super mad so she had to wait…so she could calm down.”
“We had tried to handle it all sorts of nice, nice ways, and I couldn’t think of any more,” Ball said.
“She said she wanted to forget about the past and start a new foundation for cheerleading,” one source on the team said.
According to a source on the team Women’s Athletic Director Tess Gauthier had often provided guidance for the team. Gauthier and Athletic Director Larry Dukes declined to comment on this story.
Ball believes that part of the reason that “we’ve struggled this year with how to organize [the cheerleaders]” is because the IAAM Conference no longer considers cheerleading a sport.
“It’s kind of a slap in the face to say that you aren’t a sport anymore,” Ball said.
For updates on the cheerleading team, click here.
Additional reporting by Sydney Setree.
Emily Clarke and Brianna Glase are reporters for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.