Friday, September 17, 2010

Kennedy Tesch escapes organizational chaos in the Madison Heights, Michigan cheerleading squad?

Perhaps it's a good thing that Kennedy Tesch was kicked off of the Madison Heights, Michigan cheerleading squad.

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Whatever you might think about the appropriateness of six year old girls cheering about their tight skirts and their booties, the organization of the cheerleading squad appears to be in complete chaos.

First let's look at how MSNBC described the decision-making process:

A former cheerleader and cheerleading coach herself, [Jennifer] Tesch didn’t think the cheer was appropriate for a 6-year-old [her daughter Kennedy]. But when she voiced her objections, she received what she believes was the classic runaround.

“The general manager was kind of like, ‘Well, we’ve been doing it that way for years and that’s the way it’s going to be,’”...

She then approached the squad’s coach, who told Tesch she “didn’t really have any power,” and to take it up again with the general manager. So Tesch met with the general manager and coach again, who told her the Wolverines’ governing board was aware of her concerns, but that the cheer was mandated by the state’s cheerleading association.

But upon talking to the association’s director, Tesch said she was left scratching her head. “[They] told me that they don’t mandate cheers at all, and she would talk to the general manager of the Wolverines,” she told Vieira.

MomLogic described what happened next:

Jennifer and Duane Tesch, of Madison Heights, say their daughter, Kennedy, was unanimously voted off of the Madison Heights Wolverines flag football cheerleading team during a team meeting Tuesday night. The meeting was held to discuss concerns the Tesches voiced last month regarding one of the team's cheers:

"Our backs ache, our skirts are too tight, we shake our booties from left to right."

But instead of seeing their concerns with the cheer resolved, the Tesches saw their little girl booted from the team.

Understandably upset, the Tesches went to the media (which is how they eventually ended up on the TODAY show). By that time, the "powerless" coach was talking to the media herself:

The team’s coach, Lisa Ernest, went on a local morning radio show program and blasted Tesch. “I’m directly quoting this lunatic,” Ernest said of Tesch. “She said, ‘I don’t mind the booty-shaking so much, but it’s the back aching and the skirt being too tight I don’t understand.’ ”

If Ernest thought that she was defending the general manager, she was in for a shock. The Wolverines (according to their own website) threw their coach under the bus:

On 9/15/2010 Lisa Ernest, Head Coach for the Flag Cheer Squad was suspended pending termination during an investigative period. For the benefit of the children, on 9/16/2010, Lisa Ernest resigned her position.

Mrs. Ernest was a volunteer coach for the program, she is not and has never been an elected board member with the organization and had no responsibility in the decision to part ways with the Tesch Family.

Let's review, shall we?

First, the general manager basically said "that's the way we've always done it."

Second, the coach said she had no power.

Third, the general manager and coach said that the board was aware of the Tesch family's concerns, but that the state cheerleading association had mandated this particular cheer - something the association denied.

Fourth, the board (admittedly with the support of various parents) threw the Tesch family out of the program.

Fifth, the coach called the mom a "lunatic" because she didn't want her six year old cheering about her tight skirt and booty.

Sixth, the board canned the coach, making it very clear that the coach...well, that the coach had no power.

Essentially, this is what's going to happen here. Now that NBC (and not just Fox) has criticized the Madison Heights Wolverines, there is a very slight chance that the board will be forced to can the general manager too. But that is very unlikely, unless the state cheerleading association seeks to decertify the Madison Heights cheerleading squad.

So, citizens of Madison Heights, if you want to see a well-run cheerleading association in which six year olds cheer about their tight skirts and booties, you'll probably be able to do so for years to come.

And if your kid is in the organization...keep your mouth shut.

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