It has recently come to my attention that there is another layer of sex discrimination happening in our schools.
I’m a mother of a middle schooler. In her peer group, there are athletes as well as cheerleaders. In a conversation about cheering at one of the girl athlete’s games, several students said that the cheerleaders only cheered at boys games. “I’m sorry, what?!” I exclaimed. The expressions on their faces were a mix of resignment, mutual disgust and confusion. It was clear that some of these students have already, at such a young age, learned to accept that “that’s just how it is” that girls are not given equal support.
I was genuinely shocked. I am NOT okay with this. Would you be? I started to ask around. I called the school. I called some other schools. I asked some parents. I spoke to several athletic directors. For middle school and junior high, there was a mix of responses, some of which were inclusive of cheering for both girls and boys sports teams. In high school, this was not the case. I was not given clear answers as to WHY the girl’s teams are not equally represented.
I’m not an investigative journalist: I think one should enthusiastically take this topic on, though, and give it the time and attention it deserves. I am a woman and a parent, and I cannot be alone in my concern and upset that we are sending a message to girls that they don’t deserve the support, encouragement and recognition we give our boy athletes. (And yes, this conversation extends beyond this topic).
Who decides which games and sports are cheered for? Is there a rotation? How many schools participate in inclusion, and how many join in discrimination? Who else is looking at this and asking what messages these decisions send our youth?
I’m genuinely curious to learn more. I was not aware of this disparity until very recently. I don’t want to be a bystander who accepts this is “just the way it’s always been.” We are the ones who decide. Our voices and our choices matter. Our girls matter. I invite you to join this dialogue. Let’s create a shift toward equality in how we support our community’s youth.
Rebecca Hazelton, Nutritionist, Transformational Health & Wellness Coach
These letters do not necessarily reflect the views of Good Times.To submit a letter to the editor of Good Times: Letters should be originals—not copies of letters sent to other publications. Please include your name and email address to help us verify your submission (email address will not be published). Please be brief. Letters may be edited for length, clarity and to correct factual inaccuracies known to us. Send letters to [email protected]