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Rangie's avatar

Is this prejudice or something else? What should the mother do about it, if anything? Read Details?

Asked by Rangie (3656points) May 2nd, 2010

In this particular school district, children are permitted to go out for school sports and cheer leading, etc., when they are in the 4th grade.
This little girl, we will call her Peggy, is in the 3rd grade right now, and now is the time the children have try outs for next year. Peggy will be in the 4th grade, so she qualifies to go out for cheer.
A couple of teachers at this particular school have girls in the 2nd grade right now, so will not qualify for next year. However, the school has made an exception and is allowed the 2 girls to try out.
Peggy and 3 of her friends, all of which qualify, went to the tryouts. The two, 2nd grade girls made the team, Peggy and her 3 friends did not.
There is one disturbing issue here, or is it just a coincident? The 2nd grade girls are white and Peggy and her 3 friends are black. However, there is one black girl on the team. hum!

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36 Answers

Rangie's avatar

The mother is looking for advise, I would appreciate any helpful suggestions for her.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand why the second graders were even allowed to try out? They are too young according to their own rules from what I understand from your post. I would fight it on those grounds.

bongo's avatar

is there any other reason for which the soon to be 3rd grade girls would be allowed to try out other than they are teachers children? ie. gymnastics freaks? I think its pretty unfair that the younger girls were allowed to try out younger than the rest of the school just because they were teachers children, that is pretty out of order if there is rules for everyone else. If they opened up trials to all soon to be 3rd graders that would be different.
was this girl and her 3 friends the only soon to be 4th graders not to make the team or were there other girls turned down too?

SuperMouse's avatar

I would call it favoritism at the very least, and definitely worth looking into further. I don’t want to sound cynical or to get you and this mom fired up, but something fishy is going on here.

I am not a person of color so I have not dealt with racism so I might be missing the bigger picture here, but my first reaction is that these girls were picked based on their relation with the teachers rather than their color. I think my biggest problem would be with the fact that these girls aren’t even old enough to participate and the limited number of spots should be reserved for those who are. That being said, how big is the cheer leading squad? How integrated is the school? I ask because it probably wouldn’t be very difficult to make a case for African American children being under-represented.

If I were the mother I would probably go to the principal, share my concerns, and hear his/her explanation of what happened and why.

xxii's avatar

From the information you have provided it doesn’t sound like any racial prejudice is taking place here… however, I definitely don’t think the younger girls should have been allowed to try out. How did the school justify the exception? Around how many girls tried out in total?

Rangie's avatar

I don’t know how many girls tried out in total. As far as I know the only 2nd graders to try out were just the 2.
I am also not a person of color, and don’t know much about this sort of thing. The school district is fairly well integrated. The squad is approximately 16 girls.
I hate this kind of thing with little kids. I personally think let them all make it. Who cares, if their parents will pay for their uniforms and camp, let all of them get out there and dance up a storm. These are little children, and don’t understand. Peggy is crying her eyes out and feeling very rejected.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would cite favoritism on the part of the school by breaking its own rules. As a parent, one of the most valuable things you can teach a child is delayed gratification. 3rd graders do not need to be on a cheerleading squad 4th graders. There is a developmental difference between 3rd and 4th graders, most of it driven by the shift from skills based learning of primary years, to content learning in 4th-5th. While it may not sound like a big deal, there is a difference in expectations and focus.

I would address the bending of the rules as being construed as elitism and favoritism with the principal.

SuperMouse's avatar

@PandoraBoxx very well said.

@Rangie give Peggy a big hug then encourage her mom to talk to someone about this, those 3rd graders have no business being on this squad, regardless of who their mothers are.

Rangie's avatar

@SuperMouse I will do just that. I agree the 3rd graders have no business on the squad. This is a very fairly large school district, and very competitive, but I don’t see the district office condoning this type of action. I in fact was a Cheer leader in High School in this very same school district, many years ago.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see why someone needs to be a minority to think something is racialy motivated. But as I said, I don’t think the race aspect is the problem. I cannot believe they really thought this would be ok. Not only do they open up complaints from 3rd graders who don;t make the team, but open themselves up to complaints from 2nd graders who wanted to try out also. It is stupid in my mind. Do the people higher up know what happened? The Principle?

Just wondering, is Peggy good enough to be on the team?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with try-outs. I was a cheerleader in 3rd grade and we had to try out. Some of the girls were really terrible.

Rangie's avatar

@JLeslie Peggy is fairly athletic, I don’t know about her friends. I would hate to see the mother go charging in the office, charging them with prejudice if it really isn’t. Personally I feel the real issue here is the 2 little girls on the squad. The teachers and the principal allowing this to happen, when it a well know rule through out this district. I have no idea if the higher ups know about it, but that would be my suggestion as her first course of action, rather than calling it racial, which she thinks it is.

HungryGuy's avatar

Race issues aside, this is why the whole concept of organized sports in school is a terrible idea!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You can expect this sort of thing in cheerleading.
It’s the nature of the beast.
Fight it if you want but don’t expect it to be easy.

And really? Cheerleading for 3rd graders (aka 9 year olds)? That’s sounds like your problem to me..

Rangie's avatar

@HungryGuy I can’t say that I entirely agree with you on that. I do think children need to learn how to handle rejection and losing, and moving on with pride. I just think this is a little young for these little girls to handle an injustice, like the 2 little girls. All little girls want to be cheer leaders at this age, and can’t wait until they are old enough to do it, and for the rule to change (temporarily) for these 2 younger girls, is very confusing for the other girls.

SuperMouse's avatar

@JLeslie I think that for the most part I can see when something is racially motivated. I put in that disclaimer because not being a person of color combined with the fact that I am not a racist myself, I don’t tend to think along those lines and I might be naive enough to give someone a pass where it is not warranted. My first reaction is that is is favoritism plain and simple, but because @Rangie mentioned that Peggy’s mom is wondering if there might be some racism there it was worth discussing.

@Rangie and @HungryGuy I think what you both brought up is enough to warrant its own Fluther question. Should Peggy be shielded while her mother fights the battle? Or… Should Peggy’s mom use this as a teaching moment for her daughter and provide a lesson in sportsmanship, favoritism, and maybe even racism?

plethora's avatar

Sounds like pure favoritism to me due to teacher “pull”, baseless because the school is violating it’s own rules.

Rangie's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy yes, I agree that it sounds like the younger girls being allowed in is the problem. I am sure this racial issue would not have come into her mind if the two little 3rd graders had not been allowed in. I really think the mother is so upset for her little girl, she is thinking all sorts of things.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I think this is the mother’s problem not yours and our society is far too quick to claim racism.
This sounds more like favortism.
Don’t be that one at the town hall shouting racism because your friend didnt get her way.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Rangie – Well, sports is a highly competitive endeavor. So if you’re going to encourage your kids to participate in sports, they’ll have to develop a thick skin to that sort of thing.

And yes, it smells of racism to me, too. So I’d suggest that you (or your lawyer) examine that rule closely. Does it allow exceptions? If so, then it’s all very subjective which children beat out the others in the competition. That’s why I despise school sports so much—they teach hate and competition, NOT cooperation and teamwork. But if the rule clearly makes no exceptions, then I think you have a case against the school, and (if you have deep pockets) you’ll probably win. Maybe ask the NAACP and other minority rights groups to help you…

Rangie's avatar

@HungryGuy again, I disagree with you. I don’t think it is racism. I think it is preferential treatment for teachers kids. And no, I have not heard of exception being made for this sort of thing. I doubt very much if the district office knows about this. I am urging the mother to go to the district office if it is that important to her, and let them know what happened.
I don’t think this is such a big issue, but I guess any mother hurts when their child is hurting. But, it would be my guess the child will if not already, get over it faster than the mother.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s not like cheerleading is a team sport with a specified number of participants or anything. Expand the cheer squad. It seems awfully unfair to disqualify willing kids in the fourth grade. That’s an age to encourage all kids to start participating in athletics, regardless of skill level.

dragonkxz's avatar

i would think its FUCKING RACIST MAN!

Rangie's avatar

@CyanoticWasp best answer yet. I completely agree. yes, yes, yes.GA

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it sounds like favorism more than anything else. If this happened to my child, I would be going in to talk to the principal first and if he did not thoroughly explain why the school’s rules were bent for these 2nd graders, I would then move on to the superintendent. Now, since it’s only 2 second graders on the team and 4 third graders hurt about not making the team, 2 of the 3rd graders would still be upset about not making the team if there was a decision made to take the 2 second graders off the team and put 2 of the third graders on it. At that point, it’s the parents responsibility to teach their daughters that you don’t always make the team and teach them how to handle it. I’m not sure why a 4th grade cheering squad would have limits, but I do know that there are limited number of slots as you get older and deal with competitions, so perhaps that’s why the school is starting the limited spots so young.

Draconess25's avatar

@Rangie You said all little girls want to be cheerleaders at that age. None of my friends did, & I didn’t either. It would be more accurate to say most, not all.

Rangie's avatar

@Draconess25 most. I stand corrected.

RedPowerLady's avatar

This is a case of nepotism pure and simple. The teacher’s kids made the team even though they don’t technically qualify which thus displaced the kids which would normally qualify (not the teacher’s kids). If I were this mother I would call them out on it. It is quite simply not okay and puts her child at an unfair disadvantage. I would tell her to take it to the principle and call it out for what it is. I would even go as far as taking it to the school board. This is not okay.

For now I would set the race issue aside and argue nepotism.

JLeslie's avatar

@SuperMouse Makes sense. I actually do the same now that I think about it, put in disclaimers, like when I give advice to parents, I say I am not a parent. I think I sounded to critical in my statement, really I meant that I think non-minorities can spot racism also, but certainly a minority feels it in a different way.

@Rangie Honestly, I don’t think she needs to talk about racism, because there is a good chance whoever she speaks to, if she goes higher up will worry about it anyway. Every place of work I have ever worked, even when they had not a touch of racism within the company, couldn’t help but worry more when reprimanding of firing a mimority, it is just how it is today, unfortunately.

I think she should bring it to the attention of whoever is appropriate to go to. She can first go directly to the people who allowed it and give them a chance to change their minds, before ratting them out, if she wants to try to keep it less adversarial.

john65pennington's avatar

Your Board Of Education is the first stop for a complaint. the rules already exist and you cannot change the rules just because of skin color or politics. file a complaint with the Board. if you receive no action there, hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.

Rangie's avatar

I am going to call my son right now and see he has heard anything else from the mother of the little girl.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Rangie great, please keep us updated!

Rangie's avatar

@RedPowerLady I just spoke to my son. He said the mother is going to talk to the principal to see just exactly what is going on. She thinks it is a racial thing, he advised her not to even go there at this time. Just ask and listen, go home and digest what was said. He will keep me up to date.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Rangie Great suggestion by your brother. I wouldn’t go there quite yet. Let us know how it goes!

Rangie's avatar

@RedPowerLady Sure will, and it is my son.:) He is a neighbor. Oh, he also told me the little girls takes dance lessons.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Rangie Sorry that was me being a total airhead. Thank goodness the little girl has another extra curricular. Of course it does support the theory of nepotism b/c if this girl takes dance lessons she should have been able to make the cheer squad.

Rangie's avatar

@RedPowerLady We will see in a few days, and I will let you know. Thanks.

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