A girl who was not selected to be a high school cheerleader has threatened legal action against the school district if she isn’t put on the team. Coaches and a few cheerleaders at Leon High School said they likely would quit the team themselves if the selection process were bypassed and the girl was put on the team — a move Leon County Schools may be considering. A final decision could be made Monday. The school district has overruled cheerleading judges in the past, intervening when certain girls did not make the team at Leon last year and in cases at Montford Middle and Lincoln and Chiles high schools in other years. The girl’s name was not released.
“They should not put an athlete on the team that doesn’t deserve to be on the team,” said Caylen Berry, Leon’s head cheerleading coach. “A decision like this would question my integrity as a professional. It also questions the entire legitimacy of tryouts and cheerleading as a sport.” Berry has coached for eight years, and this will be her second year at Leon. “This is just a thing the district does and thinks is OK,” Berry said. “I don’t know why the district feels the need to go behind the back of the coaches and the school.” The school has tryouts open to any student, and aspiring cheerleaders audition before multiple coaches.
Berry said the girl threatening to sue was not the only senior who failed to make the cut. She cannot be on a junior varsity squad and initially didn’t make the varsity team last year, Berry said. During the recent tryout, she fell twice during the same tumbling routine and was ranked too low for a place on the squad.