A Wisconsin school district official says its high school will no longer hand out cheerleading awards that are based on a girl’s physical attributes.
A Wisconsin school district official says its high school will no longer hand out cheerleading awards that are based on a girl’s physical attributes, including largest breasts or buttocks.
The decision comes after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a demand letter "expressing serious concerns regarding complaints of pervasive gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, body shaming, and victim blaming" at a school within the Kenosha Unified School District.
According to the ACLU, an annual cheerleading award banquet has previously been held at Tremper High School that recognizes the most improved or hardest working cheerleaders. But special gag awards were also given to cheerleaders with the largest buttocks, called "Big Booty" and the biggest breasts, called "Big Boobie." There was also the "String Bean Award" given to the skinniest cheerleader.
Following the March 2018 banquet, parents and at least one other coach from the school emailed Tremper principal Steve Knecht to complain. Knecht later emailed a parent, who was following up, that the awards "were meant to be funny" and coaches were "just joking around."
In the demand letter, the ACLU asked the district to appropriately discipline the coaches and institute mandatory anti-harassment training for all district employees. According to the New York Times, if the district refused and did not take steps to enact policies safeguarding the girls, the organization would consider all options, including a lawsuit.
District spokeswoman Tanya Ruder said in an email to Times on Monday that "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."
According to the Times, a parent went to the ACLU after feeling dissatisfied with the district's response.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.