Texas School Finds Few Girls Good Enough for Cheerleading

PHOTO: The Grapevine cheerleading squad.
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Cheerleading is supposed to be fun, but there was nothing cheerful about tryouts for the Colleyville Heritage High School squad in Colleyville, Texas.

This year Colleyville Heritage High School found only 19 girls out of a school of 2,400 students good enough for their cheerleading squad. Judges rejected so many of the girls that they did not have enough cheerleaders for a junior varsity squad this year.

Cheerleaders -- even those who made the squad -- revolted along with their parents against the strict standards, expressing their disappointment at school board meetings in March and April.

This week the school board agreed to allow more girls on the squad and change the tryout process for 2012-13.

"The district administration made the decision to place all of the candidates who passed the required tumbling certification and participated in tryouts onto the Colleyville Heritage High School cheer squad for 2012-2013," said a statement released by the district.

"The administration's decision allows for more student participation at both the freshman and junior varsity levels, and provides the ability to field three squads at CHHS as we traditionally have offered."

Parents are finally cheering.

"They did a really good job of really working to look at the big picture and trying to see what would be the right thing," said Crissie Tatum, a parent in the district involved with the issue told ABC News. "We are happy that they decided to make that change."

The district is looking into changing future tryouts.

"There's already a district committee put together," said Tatum. "Sponsors, the athletic director, principals of the schools who will look at everything."

The committee will sit down and look at putting together a better tryout process, said Tatum.

"This is a sport and the girls are athletes. It's changing for the better and looked at like a sport to make it more fair for the girls that are involved," said Tatum.

Before the district intervened, parents said the tryouts did not comply with the district policy and the constitution of the cheer program.

The same judges rated girls from two different schools in the district, Colleyville and Grapevine High. While only 5 percent of the tryouts got the boot at Grapevine High, nearly 40 percent were rejected at Colleyville.

"There was a definite difference in the expectations for them at Colleyville Heritage versus Grapevine High," an unhappy Colleyville parent who preferred not to be named, told ABCNews.com. "One of the judges stated the expectation for cheerleader candidates they be competitive and at Grapevine High they find coachable candidates."

The standards were raised so high that girls who have cheered in the past for the school were cut. Even girls who survived the cuts are upset with the selection process.

"I am here to urge you to use your authority to intervene and correct the damage that has been inflicted upon our teammates and our team as result of the tryout process this year," varsity cheerleader Katelyn Hicks said at a Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting on April 23. "It isn't an honor to be part of something so clearly messed up.

In demanding that the process be changed, Hicks pleaded "Please restore our team."

Varsity cheerleader Kaylee Williams, a sophomore, had a similar complaint.

"I feel we are letting my entire grade down by not having cheerleaders at the junior varsity games, pep rallies and all other school sporting events," Williams said.

Candidates don't even qualify to attend the three-day tryouts unless they get a tumbling certification, showing they can perform maneuvers including the standing backhand spring and round off back tuck.

"At this point it go so messed up, the district needs to admit it's so messed up," said Tatum, before the district decision.

Those concerned are not asking to eliminate competitiveness, but for the district to enforce a balance and equality for both high schools.

"There needs to be a balance between remembering the importance of school spirit, leadership, excitement to spectators at games, classes represented and also being able to compete at a national level if you want to," said the parent.

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