A Wisconsin high school will no longer present its cheerleading squad with awards related to their physical attributes including breast and butt size, the New York Post reports. The decision was accounted after pressure from advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and concerned parents argued that some of the awards intended to be amusing were, in fact, sexualizing children.
Tremper High School in Kenosha discontinued awards including the "Big Booty Judy" award for largest backside and the "Big Boobie" award for largest breasts. Also on the chopping block is the "String Bean" award given to the skinniest cheerleader. The suggestive awards were handed out at annual award banquets alongside less proactive recognitions such as "most improved" and "hardest worker."
"Gender stereotypes and objectification of women and girls start from an early age and follow girls and women throughout their entire lives," said ACLU Attorney Asma Kadri-Keeler in a statement. "Now more than ever, it is important for schools — and all institutions — to take steps to prevent them from taking root. … The ACLU and ACLU of Wisconsin will continue to press KUSD to respond appropriately to these incidents and to reform and enforce its policies so that all students are treated equally, regardless of gender."
ACLU lawyers claimed that Tremper High School Principal Steve Knecht had received multiple complaints from parents over the years, but had not found "evidence of wrongdoing" on behalf of the cheerleading staff nor circled back with parents to address their concerns.After the ACLU became involved, district officials met with the cheer coach, who has not been identified publicly, and instructed her to write apology letters to the girls who received the inappropriate awards, which the principal had previously characterized as "meant to be funny."
Along with the apology letters, the coach was also asked to submit her resignation, which at the time she refused to do. She was later informed, however, that she would be immediately rehired as a "co-coach" alongside her replacement. She has continued to coach the group since, according to the ACLU.
Tanya Ruder, chief communications officer for the school district, verified that the awards would no longer be distributed but did not comment on the employment status of the coach.
"A clear expectation has been set that awards of this nature are not acceptable and are not to be given at Tremper cheerleading banquets going forward," Ruder said. "As for the investigation, we are not at liberty to share personnel matters."