Cheerleaders Gone Wild

Share
Copy

At a high school in McKinney, Texas, officials say a group of five cheerleaders recently got out of control.

Dubbed the "Fab Five," they acted like they could get away with almost anything and refused to bend to authority. They repeatedly skipped class, insulted their instructors, and terrorized their coach, their fourth coach in just one year.

The Fab Five even posted sexually suggestive pictures of themselves on MySpace, but that still wasn't enough for the school to take their pompoms away.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America," Michaela Ward, the coach that the Fab Five drove out, said the girls were beyond discipline.

"Unfortunately these girls were given power that any teenager would have completely abused. They were untouchable. They were invincible. The rules did not apply to them," Ward said. "There was no accountability. They knew that I had absolutely no power to discipline."

The school finally took action. Now, two questions are being asked: What took so long? And who is to blame?

Principal Accused of Letting the Girls Go Wild

Some are pointing fingers at the mother of the clique's ringleader, who was also the school's principal.

"This culture developed where the principal's daughter and her friends were above consequences," said attorney Harold Jones, who was hired by the school district to look into complaints about the cheerleaders.

In his report, Jones found the girls' influence at their high school was pervasive. There seemed to be no limits to their shenanigans.

"They took my cell phone and sent dirty text messages to my husband and to another coach," Ward said.

Though Ward was the cheerleading coach, she felt incapable of disciplining the girls.

"Everything I did, I was undermined by the principal and the administration. I was never kept in the loop," she said.

"Right after some risque photos are placed on MySpace in their cheerleader uniforms and they're on probation, it takes a whole week to decide that they won't be kicked off the squad," Jones said.

In December, the principal resigned as part of a settlement in which she received $75,000 and a letter of recommendation for her next job. The former principal's attorney says she denies shielding her daughter from punishment.

But Jones says it wasn't just the principal who was at fault, but an entire school administration and parents who didn't enforce the rules are to blame.

"Kids are going to be kids. They're going to figure out ways to push your limits," Jones said. "Adults have to be adults."

How to Prevent Girls from Becoming 'Mean Girls'

Rosalind Wiseman, an educator on teens and parenting, and author of the book "Queen Bees and Wannabee's," sees the Texas cheerleading debacle as part of a wider problem with kids and power.

"This is about kids having more power than adults, and them getting away with things no matter how old they are," she said.

Wiseman said that if parents wanted to prevent their kids from running amok, they couldn't be afraid to punish them.

"Some parents today feel that their No. 1 job is to protect their child, and it's not," she said. "Their job is to raise an ethical child, which means holding them accountable for bad behavior."

When it comes to conflicts in school, Wiseman said parents should steer clear of direct involvement, if possible.

"Parents should only get involved if their child is being humiliated or ridiculed. But if it's a content issue, meaning a grade or a performance in sports or something else, you need to work with your child to articulate what the problem is and to speak to the coach or the teacher themselves," she said. "You should not do the talking for your child. Let your kid work it out when it comes to grades and playing time."

Being comfortable talking to people in positions of power can be a valuable skill, one that parents can teach kids early.

"If your child learns to speak to people in a position of power about something they feel is not right and to articulate how they feel about it, you are teaching your child a very powerful life lesson," Wiseman said.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...