No More Tryouts (or Tears): Now Everyone Makes the Cheer Squad
'Inclusivity' apparently trumps fairness and common sense at one New Jersey high school — will this craziness ever end?
You’ve heard of the “everyone gets a trophy” philosophy when it comes to kids and competition, right? Now, at one New Jersey high school, everyone makes the cheer team merely for showing up.
In the name of “inclusivity,” Hanover Park High School in East Hanover, New Jersey, has ended cheerleading tryouts as we know them. Instead, it will allow every single applicant who shows interest in the squad to be part of it, as multiple outlets reported.
It gets worse: The East Hanover Board of Education reportedly made the decision after one parent complained her daughter did not make the team after she tried out for it.
Hanover cheerleader Stephanie Krueger — who was not part of this drama — was angry with the new policy.
“All my hard work has been thrown out the window,” she said during a school board meeting last week, according to the New York Post. “I tried my hardest [to make the team]. Now everything is going away because of one child who did not make the team, and their parent complained.”
Hanover sophomore Jada Alcontara agreed with that, saying at the meeting, "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."
Many East Hanover parents disagreed with the new rule; some spoke up against the policy at the meeting. The board responded by threatening to can the cheerleading program altogether, rather than go back to requiring talent and determination –– not to mention hours and hours of practice –– to make the cut.
"Good-bye, competing," one mom of a high school cheerleader from the North Shore of Massachusetts told LifeZette. "Competing is a huge joy and serious goal for a cheer squad, and this New Jersey high school will not have a team good enough to compete –– which certainly isn't fair to all the other girls who work so hard and who are so committed."
"This policy may be well-intentioned, but I can see it completely backfiring. All people — kids included — have to learn that sometimes there are only limited spots for things."
Said a New York mother of four who was a competitive cheerleader herself while growing up, "This is just crazy. Standards count for something. Are we now going to allow anyone who's interested to join any team at all, no matter the qualifications? Don't kids still need to aspire to something, to strive for something? This policy may be well-intentioned, but I can see it completely backfiring. All people — kids included — have to learn that sometimes there are only limited spots for things, and that learning to compete for those spots is a part of life."
The school insisted its new policy was in the "best interest" of the students.
"In order to facilitate a more inclusive program," the board's statement read, "the alignment between the various cheerleading squads would be modified to allow all interested students to be able to participate. This decision was made in the best interest of all students and was made to be as inclusive as possible."
The school board also said the change was made after "multiple appeals from several parents."
The next generation of kids will have their work cut out for them if they don't learn to deal with disappointment as they mature. Instead of allowing kids to develop fundamental life skills, some parents are instead crippling their futures in the name of protectiveness and inclusion.
"Everyone gets a trophy," one Facebook user commented on the issue. "None of our children will ever know how to handle not getting into a specific college, [not] getting a job, and the list can go on and on. We are just teaching them if they complain enough they will get what they want. We are just raising a bunch of entitled brats."
And another poster commented, "Just another knee-jerk reaction by a school bending to the will of a parent. My daughter is on cheer and she did not make varsity. I did not complain to the school about it. I asked my daughter, 'What do YOU need to do to be on varsity?'"
The commenter continued, "A parent running to the administration and demanding that their child be given something they did not earn does irreparable damage to that child later in life. I hope that kid's mom doesn't think she [should] go into the CEO's office 15 years from now demanding a raise and corner office for her little girl."
Board President Sean Sullivan indicated the new policy may be revisited at a later date, noted the Post.
Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette.