School refuses to let boy join cheerleading squad

  1. GLENDALE, Ky. -- Bobby Thorn wanted to be the only boy on his school's cheerleading squad, but that didn't happen. The 13-year-old attends East Hardin Middle School in Glendale, but the controversial decision to cut him from the team expands beyond the district's boundaries. Bobby's mother filed a discrimination claim with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights two years ago, and now a settlement has been reached.

    Bobby works with coach Jen Brewer at a gym called Becca's Fliptown, something he's been doing since he was about 5. He's been successful, too, winning trophies for gymnastics and cheerleading.

    “Bobby's phenomenal,” Brewer said. “You don't have this kind of kid with this kind of potential walk in your gym every day.” With his award-winning experience, Bobby tried out for the cheerleading team at East Hardin, but there was a twist: He was the only boy trying to make it.

    Despite his flips, his tryout was a flop. He didn't make the team.“I was devastated,” he said. So was Bobby's mother, Melissa Barner, who said she has sworn statements from other parents stating the coach admitted cutting Bobby because she didn't want a boy on her team. What especially bothers her is the coach was also the school's human resources counselor.

    “I teach my children not to discriminate and when he had it done at a school where he is supposed to be safe and protected, I had to protect my child,” she said. Barner took the case to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. A settlement has been reached.

    In the settlement agreement, the school admits no wrongdoing but the commission has ordered mandatory training for the principal, teachers and coaches at the school. In addition, school administrators must submit an annual report to the commission for the next three years and include any additional complaints. The school also agreed to pay $3,000 to Bobby's mother.

    “It was a long process, but I knew in my heart I did the right thing for my child to tell him not to back down,” Barner said.“ This settlement was made in the interest of children, to keep our staff teaching children instead of participating in a lengthy trial,” said Hardin County Public Schools representative Dick Thornton.

    “It felt great,” Bobby said.Since his disappointment in sixth grade, Bobby hasn't tried out for the cheerleading squad in seventh or eighth grade, but may do it in high school. As for the woman who cut him from the team, she is no longer the cheerleading coach.

  2. OMG, this stuff STILL happens?

    A good friend of mine (former boyfriend actually) tried out for the flag squad in HS. I was part of it. He wanted to be in band because we were taking a big trip to Florida and most of his friends were in the band. He was already in Orchestra, so the only way to do BOTH was to be in band either on pompons or flags.

    So, there he was, 1 guy on an otherwise 16 girl squad. We were a military style squad, so no flitting around and he was a MACHO kind of guy - joined the marines the following year, but NO ONE batted an eye... and he WAS testing the system to see if they would fall for a trap... and the school didn't... and we had a GREAT time in Florida. That was almost 20 years ago in iowa... you would think it would be better now and in JUNIOR HIGH??? Please!
  3. I thought most cheerleading teams had a few guys on the squad. I know in my HS and JHS they did.
  4. ^^ that's what I thought, but I guess it makes a little more sense that it's junior high and in the deep south, where cheerleading is serious business.
  5. None of the schools I attended had male cheerleaders, probably for their own safety. Based on the folk I went to school with, they would have gotten their butts kicked. Sad, but true.
  6. Same here, and that was back in the early 70's for me. We didn't think anything of it.

    However, I find it highly ironic that finally a BOY gets the sexsist treatment.
  7. What the hell did that stupid coach have against that little boy?
  8. George Bush was a cheerleader at Andover.

  9. ^ Lol.
    Poor boy, it's his dream of becoming a cheerleader, but what about that teacher? As she is responsible for the team, is it not her right to be able to pick the people that are on her team? What if she envisioned her team to be female-only? Is it right for some parents to force their opinions on others?
  10. That's what I thought! all of those cheerleading competitions on tv have boys.
  11. so not fair!
  12. Would you be saying the same thing if she envisioned her team to be "white-only" or "girls with blonde hair only?" He can't change his gender, and I don't think it's fair for him to be barred from doing something just because he's a boy.
  13. I don't see why they won't allow him on the squad. I graduated in 98' and we had a lot of male cheerleaders.
  14. the only thing that changed was his mother's bank account!! she got 3 G's, but does this mean that boys can try out for the squad?
  15. She obviously didn't do it for the money...after 3 years, the $3,000 probably doesn't even cover the attorney fees and time and effort.

    By reaching a settlement the district is admitting fault and it raised awareness. Now, the boy next boy that comes along will be treated fairly.

    Also, the article said the coach is now no longer the coach, she probably was fired or demoted.