A high school in Wisconsin is under fire after a cheerleading coach was accused of body shaming cheerleaders during a team banquet. According to the New York Times, parents were uncomfortable and outraged when the cheerleading coach gave out two very inappropriate awards at the cremony—one for “Biggest Boobies” and one for “Biggest Booty.” While the awards were not serious and were called, by the coach, “Mock Awards,” parents and students were still offended and outraged to hear that the coach would joke around with the young girls in such a way.
Additionally, while presenting the awards, the coach joked about the student who received the “Biggest Booties” award saying that she “risked a concussion when she ran because of her enormous boobs.” Additionally, the coach said about the girl who won the “Biggest Booty” award:
“We love her butt. Everybody loves her butt.”
On top of objectifying students, the cheerleading coach also gave out an award called the “String Bean” award to a cheerleader who was skinny and small.
After a number of parents and teammates were angry and upset, the issue was addressed by the American Civil Liberties Union, who later issued the school disctrict—Kenosha Unified School District—a formal warning about a potential lawsuit. The lawsuit is contingent on whether or not the district takes action to correct the wrongdoings of the coach.
The ACLU of Wisconsin and the ACLU sent a demand letter expressing serious concerns regarding complaints of pervasive gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, body shaming, and victim blaming, at schools located within the Kenosha Unified School District (“KUSD”), specifically at Tremper and Bradford High Schools, and to request that the District take prompt corrective action. Gender stereotypes and sex discrimination are engrained in our institutions. Girls are taught from a young age that their worth is in their physical appearance, rather than intelligence, athleticism, or personality.
Additionally, after speaking to students, the A.C.L.U discovered that coaches made inappropriate comments to the students during practices that can be labeled as “harassment.” They added that the behavior violated federal nondiscrimination and equal protection laws.
One parent told the New York Times that she was outraged when she heard the awards at the dinner.
“I looked around and thought, ‘Did that just happen?’ If my daughter would have won one of those awards, I would’ve absolutely been rushing the stage. It was just so wrong, in so many ways.”
Many parents were also disturbed to hear that the principal did nothing to combat the harassment and the issue at hand. The New York Times reported that four different people reached out to Steve Knecht, Tremper’s principal, to complain about the awards—regardless if they were jokes. The principal did next to nothing to make any changes or take any action after parents complained.
The cheerleading coach, Patti Uttech, who does not work at the school, said that the awards were first introduced in 2017 when the senior class came up with them. Her reasoning behind allowing them is because “the physical stunts require a lot of physical contact.” She also said that the students found them “hilarious” and “funny.”
What do you think, how would you feel if your daughter got this award?
h/t: New York Times.