The cheerleaders at Wharton High School weren’t allowed to root, root, root for the football team in their game against Bellville. They were sidelined—punished—for violating the student code of conduct.
Not hazing, or making a hit list, both offenses per page 5 of the code.
They put condoms in the football players’ spirit bags.
Don’t worry. I read the Wharton ISD Student Code of Conduct (revised August 2013) so you don’t have to. It does mention armor-piercing ammunition, but on birth control generally, or condoms in particular, it is silent.
The only part they could have invoked against condoms, as far as I can tell, is the general list of standards for student conduct:
Each student is expected to:
- Demonstrate courtesy, even when others do not.
- Behave in a responsible manner, always exercising self-discipline.
- Attend all classes, regularly and on time.
- Prepare for each class; take appropriate materials and assignments to class.
- Meet district and campus standards of grooming and dress.
- Obey all campus and classroom rules.
- Respect the rights and privileges of students, teachers, and other district staff and volunteers.
- Respect the property of others, including district property and facilities.
- Cooperate with and assist the school staff in maintaining safety, order, and discipline.
- Adhere to the requirements of the Student Code of Conduct.
If you ask teenagers to demonstrate courtesy and behave in a responsible manner, encouraging condom usage is more of a do than a don’t, wouldn’t you say?
One troubling element in the story is that the people who are defending the cheerleaders, and likely some of the cheerleaders themselves, have been insisting that the condoms were put in the spirit bags as a joke:
“I think that it was wrong that they did it, but they were really just joking around,” one student said.
One parent said that it was a simple joke that should not be taken so seriously.
“If they did that, it was just a joke,” Teresa Holmes, a parent, said. “They need to go on with that and let children be children.”
Another student said it was a harmless joke.
”It was really a prank gone wrong. I guess. It was a harmless prank that went too far,” another student said.
A junior on the drill team said the cheerleaders just thought it would be funny and meant no harm.
”They just thought it would be funny,,cause they are guys and they are girls…you know…”the student said.
The mother of one of the cheerleaders said that she fully supports the district’s punishment. She also said that squad did intend the whole thing as a joke, one that they realize was inappropriate.
Is no one in 2013 willing to acknowledge that there is a slight chance, a remote possibility, that in a state which has the highest rate of repeat teen births, some high school football players and/or cheerleaders might be having sex?
If condoms are a joke, I don’t get it.
Except, of course, I do.
The cheerleaders were in enough hot water. Had they insisted that they were just encouraging safe sex, the football players’ moms would’ve gone on the teevee wringing their hands about those predatory pre-cougars. The preachers would’ve started blaming Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus. The librarians would’ve preemptively hidden the Judy Blume books so no one could burn or ban them.
So, instead of honest talk about teen sexuality, we get condoms as the punchline. The joke is on us.