Education

Superintendent Bans Awards Objectifying Students’ Bodies Following Cheerleader Awards Fiasco

SHUTTERSTOCK/ sirtravelalot

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

A Wisconsin school district superintendent banned awards objectifying students’ bodies following backlash over cheerleaders receiving awards for physical features like having the biggest breasts.

Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis said in a memo, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday, that “mock awards of any such kind” were not allowed. The letter was sent to principals and administrators in the district.

Tremper High School came under fire, even receiving a formal warning from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in February, after cheerleaders reportedly received such awards at an annual banquet.

School cheerleader coaches allegedly gave the “Big Boobie” award to the girl with the biggest breasts, the “Big Booty” award to the cheerleader with the biggest buttocks and the “String Bean” award to the skinniest girl in March 2018, The New York Times reported.

The 2018 awards were reportedly conducted in front of a crowd of more than 100 people. Two out of the three mock awards were also given to women in 2017, the ACLU reported in its warning.

Pictured is a trophy. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Athitat Shinagowin

Pictured is a trophy. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Athitat Shinagowin

A KUSD official previously told TheDCNF that such awards were “not to be given at Tremper cheerleading banquets going forward.”

Savaglio-Jarvis’s letter, however, was a district-wide order informing employees they could be disciplined or fired for student harassment. (RELATED: Teachers On Leave After Alleged Link To Punishing Preschoolers By Having Them Stand Naked In Closet)

“It is imperative that you make clear to the faculty and staff, whom you supervise, that you will not tolerate actions that constitute student discrimination or harassment,” the letter continued.

One of the coaches is no longer a district employee while another volunteer coach is no longer involved, a KUSD spokeswoman said, according to The Associated Press.

“We think this is a step in the right direction for a district plagued by sex discrimination and sexual harassment, but still have questions about its plan to address the underlying culture that led to the incidents the ACLU described in its letter,” Emma Roth, an attorney at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, said in a statement given to TheDCNF. “It’s important that KUSD not use a Band-Aid to cover up a systemic problem. We urge the district to hold trainings for all employees on an ongoing basis and address these issues on a holistic level, rather than treat each individual incident in a piecemeal fashion.”

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