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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."

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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