Batons Stilled After 'Girl Kissing' Song Flap

A Texas high school reprimanded baton twirlers for their racy choice of music.

Oct. 2, 2008 — -- Three Texas high school students are being disciplined after performing a baton routine to the popular Katy Perry song "I Kissed a Girl" during a pep rally last week.

Jordan Downey, 17, is one of three baton twirlers who said their choice in music resulted in the Van Independent School District in Van, Texas, suspending her and her teammates from performing.

"The school is way over-reacting," said Jordan, who will now have to sit on the sidelines during two football games and a pep rally as punishment.

"I honestly don't understand the big hype about the song," she said.

Lyrics to the chart-topping song describe the singer's propensity to kiss other girls -- and hope that "her boyfriend don't mind it" -- while drinking.

"I kissed a girl and I liked it," sings Perry. "The taste of her cherry Chapstick, I kissed a girl just to try it."

The song was played in front of 500 students during a morning pep rally for a Sept. 27 football game.

According to Jordan, several of the students were singing along as they performed while the faculty members and parents who were watching remained mostly quiet.

Jordan admits that her twirl coach asked the girls not to use the song with their routine but said that she never thought they'd get in a lot of trouble.

"I just thought we'd have to run laps," said Jordan, referring to a punishment that is commonly used by the school.

But while Jordan and her mother are upset about the school's reaction, Suzie McWilliams, the spokeswoman for the school board, told that "the matter is closed."

"The girls were told to choose another song that would be more appropriate for a pep rally," said McWilliams.

But when pressed on what standards the school applies to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate songs for the pep rallies, McWilliams declined to specify.

"What the girls got in trouble for was deliberately disobeying what their [coach] asked them to do, which was to choose a more appropriate song," she said, adding that she has had no complaints from parents about the school's reaction.

But Downey's mother, Jane, said she's sure it was the choice of song -- and not just her daughter's unruliness -- that led to the punishment.

"No matter how you look at it, the school said 'no' to the song," said Downey.

"Other groups and organizations in the school have played songs that are worse," said Downey.

Other songs Downey and her daughter said have been played at school functions include Soulja Boy's "Go Hard," which includes several obscenities and sexual innuendoes in its lyrics, and Rick James' "Super Freak" in which the artist sings, "She's a very kinky girl."

"I don't find the [Perry] song offensive," said Downey. "There is no sex in the song, and no one is murdered in the song -- that is worse than having a drink and kissing a girl."

Downey admits that she is not pleased with her daughter's decision but is even more upset with the way the school has handled the situation.

"I'm not happy with my daughter, but I'm certainly not happy with the school either," said Downey. "The coach should have been sterner -- someone should have just hit stop on the [boom box]."

"The [school] has said that the girls broke a rule in the student code of conduct, but we can't find any such rule," said Downey. "There has been no explanation."

McWilliams said the high school "has a code of conduct like any other school" but declined to elaborate on which part of the code was broken by the twirlers.

Jordan said that her punishment is "ruining" her senior year and is making her nervous that it might hurt her college chances.

"I'm worried that the uproar about [our performance] will make colleges not want to take me," said Jordan. "It was just supposed to be fun."

And the worst part of her punishment?

Jordan said that the rest of her high school twirling career will be set to the music of the school band -- another provision of the team's punishment.

"They can play, like, three songs that we can twirl to," she said.