High school cheerleaders lash out at new rule that lets anyone join the squad following parent complaints

A New Jersey high school has opted to do away with its standard cheerleading tryouts and let students who want to participate join the squad, TV News 12 New Jersey reports.

The move by Hanover Park High School in East Hanover was prompted by parent complaints about the scoring process for tryouts. According to a statement issued by the school, officials agreed that the current scoring, which meant the removal of five cheerleading hopefuls,  was “arbitrary.”

A school’s new policy on cheerleading is causing controversy. (Photo: Mike Powell/Getty Images)

“The high school administration decided to be more inclusive and not penalize any student from making the squad that did not achieve a score of 87 or better,” the statement noted. “The high school administration consulted with the cheering advisers, who indicated that this change would not create an undue burden on the program or their ability to properly supervise the students.”

While many have praised the new policy as more inclusive, some cheerleaders and their parents say it’s unfair to those who made the squad.

“I tried my hardest,” Stephanie Krueger said during a meeting with the local Board of Education on May 2. “Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team. And their parent complained, so now all my hard work has been thrown out the window.”

Added Jada Alcontara: “I came up here to state that I did not put in 18 months of work to lead up to this moment, just to be told it didn’t matter anymore.” 

But the school administration is standing its ground.

“In order to facilitate a more inclusive program, the alignment between the various cheerleading squads would be modified to allow all interested students to be able to participate,” officials said in a previous statement. “This decision was made in the best interest of all students and was made to be as inclusive as possible.”

The decision has been met with criticism from those who say the school is bowing to pressure and rewarding inclusivity instead of merit.

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