Some Mary Persons cheerleading parents told the school board Tuesday they are unhappy with the school’s decision to cut in half the number of cheerleaders who can be on the sidelines at football games.
After the school board rejected a motion to allow all 40 cheerleaders on the sideline, superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman assured the parents he would find a resolution to the issue.
The school told cheerleaders last week that due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, only 20 out of MP’s 40 cheerleaders would be allowed on the sideline. MP’s first home game is against Greene County next Friday, Sept. 18, and it will also be Senior Night.
Cheerleading parent Heather Gordon told the school board that it wasn’t fair for the school to keep cheerleaders from the sidelines when no other sport faces such restrictions. She noted the cheerleaders spend hours working hard in practice and creating run-through banners to make Friday nights fun. She noted competition cheerleaders have already lost their fall season due to COVID and this only worsens it and asked the school to reconsider.
One parent noted that it could be a Title IX violation only to limit female sports and not the male sports.
Hickman noted that Dan Pitts Stadium doesn’t have a lot of room on the sidelines but said he’s looking at other places around the field they could be, possibly putting them where visiting cheerleaders normally stand.
“We’re doing the best we can,” said Hickman.
After some discussion, school board member Greg Head motioned to allow all 40 cheerleaders on the field during games. Board member Stuart Pippin seconded.
But chairman Nolen Howard suggested they let the administration try to make it right first before getting involved. Board member Priscilla Doster agreed that they shouldn’t micro-manage. Head’s motion failed 5-1 as Pippin explained he would give the administration a chance to make it right.
Gordon said she was satisfied for now with the promise that the administration would make the right decision.
MP opens on the road at McDonough on Friday but the band and cheerleaders will not be going to away games. See the Reporter’s Pigskin Preview of the team and cheerleaders inside this edition.