A gimmick intended to be a lighthearted jab at an area rival in Ohio has instead sparked a furious debate over the appropriateness of making light of school cheerleaders who have given birth.
As reported by Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC, a pep rally at Perry (Ohio) High in which senior boys dressed as pudgy cheerleaders for rival Massillon was deemed to be in extremely poor taste because of one accessory the faux cheerleaders carried with them: A baby doll.
The implication of the insult was clear: Massillon should be embarrassed because a former cheerleader didn't try out for the 2012 squad because she was pregnant.
While the stunt was intended to get the Perry student body fired up about the rivalry between the schools, it instead infuriated some parents of Perry students themselves, who spoke to WKYC on the condition of anonymity to express their disappointment that classmates of their children were making light of teen pregnancy.
In fact, those same parents are now calling the entire prep rally program an exhibit in mean-spirited teen bullying.
"My kids were really amazed, as well as a lot of their friends," one anonymous Perry parent told WKYC. "That's not cool. That's not funny."
The student who wielded the doll evidently got it from a health class and has since been punished for his decision to use it in the prep rally. Perry local schools superintendent John Richard told WKYC that the student was given a significant punishment and that he has been forced to write an official apology for the stunt.
Naturally, the entire brouhaha feels ripped directly from a script of the Fox hit "Glee" which, fittingly, is set in Ohio (though not specifically Northeast Ohio). Yet while the mythical pregnancy of a Glee star was seen as a teaching tool of sorts for American onlookers, the mocking victimization of an area cheerleader has a very real victim, not to mention her child, who now has been used as a virtual prop before it can even walk.
"If there was a student that was in the crowd that's pregnant already, that's horrifying," the earlier referenced Perry parent told WKYC. "As if she's not dealing with enough."
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