They were known as the "Fab Five" and their behavior was atrocious for any group of young girls, let alone a group of cheerleaders. The scandal has been publicized across the nation and over the last few days it has been in major publications like Newsweek and on FOX News. I can't help but wonder though, is this really newsworthy? Well, you be the judge on that point.Let me back up a bit here and explain the situation. In McKinney, TX (a suburb of Dallas) they had a squad of cheerleaders that included five young ladies with a reputation for being rude, mischievous and sometimes a bit lewd. The group was labeled the "Fab Five" by their teammates and peers and the girls possessed an attitude that they were untouchable. Their antics included, but were not limited to:
- Having their picture taken inside a Condoms To Go store while they were wearing their cheerleading uniforms.
- Posting on MySpace.com photos that show them drinking, wearing bikinis and even offering glimpses of their panties.
- Sending racy text messages from their coach's cell phone.
- Being disrespectful to their teachers. When one cheerleader was asked to get off the phone while in class, she replied, "Shut up, I'm talking to my mom."
- Flipping off a former coach.
- Running off five coaches in the last three years.
If all that weren't enough, the so-called ringleader of the group was the daughter of McKinney North's principal, Linda Theret. And according to accounts this relationship gave the girls a sort of "free pass" to continue their unruly activities. That is until their most recent coach, Michaela Ward, resigned and went public with the story.
In the face of all the media attention, Harry Jones, a Dallas lawyer, was hired by the McKinney ISD to investigate claims that disciplinary action was not administered fairly to the high school cheerleading squad. His report has been released and not surprisingly, he found many failures in the handling of this situation. He summarized his findings this way:
- The District failed to write and amend a coherent Constitution.
- McKinney North failed to recruit and keep a qualified Cheerleader sponsor with longevity.
- Some parents failed to transmit solid values, beyond "success" and "individual rights."
- Most teachers failed to take a stand on principle, preferring career advancement.
- Administration failed to implement and assess discipline equitably.
- Many students failed to understand how the rules could get so twisted.
- A small group of "ultra-cool" Cheerleaders at the top of the North "food chain" resisted all authority (legitimate and hypocritical) and failed to recognize how they were hurting their community.
- A few parents failed to see discipline as a loving instruction about life--instead they enabled children to a profound degree.
- The media failed to get the story straight: broadcasting it as a sensationalized battle between an upright crusader and "girls gone wild" and "teasing" with a risqué photograph.
- Previous Cheerleading sponsors at North failed to give the real reason they quit.
- The most recent Cheerleading sponsors at North failed to give the real reason they quit.
- The most recent Cheerleading sponsor failed to embrace or thoroughly follow the Constitution-and quit in very untimely fashion.
- The principal failed to properly juggle two of the most important responsibilities in her life: principal and mother. She must be held principally accountable.
The "Fab Five" have been removed from the cheerleading squad and Theret has resigned as principal of McKinney North, but for some reason the story lives on. Why? Is it because it was a group of cheerleaders? Is there a lesson to learn in all this? Are we (parents, coaches and teachers) failing our children when it comes to teaching them proper behavior?