“Cheering” the San Diego School Board
Finally, in San Diego Unified Schools, cheerleaders are equal. They are on par with the football or basketball teams. They stand right with marching band now and ROTC.
The school board on Tuesday night began finalizing the details to fix an obvious injustice. For years, cheerleaders did not get PE (physical education) school credit for their work on the sidelines, now they will.
Back in 2008 they lost their “credit” when the district misinterpreted a state ruling, and the fight to get the credit back has been long and frustrating for thousands of teenagers who practice, sweat, train and cheer. It's not just about learning cute and catchy cheers and jumping up and down on the sideline, these young women and men are constantly nursing sprained muscles and sore joints because what they do is work, real work.
Ever since the PE credit was stripped from cheerleaders, understandably, some of the programs have become lax. They need good coaches and strict rules. Now, maybe that can happen. This decision gives them legitimacy again.
Personally, I was a high school cheerleader. Four other senior members of the basketball team quit the team and joined me in creating that male cheerleading squad. The girl's team was officially sanctioned by the school, but the boys cheerleading team was not. It was a fight that the boys at my high school fought for years. Now, it's a co-ed cheerleading squad. There are all kinds of battles for cheerleaders these days.
There can be no doubt that cheerleading is a sport. There are national competitions. There are standardized rules and sanctions. There is endurance and strength training. There is coordination, cooperation, planning, practice and lots of physical activity. Cheerleading is now where it should be in San Diego's schools, on the list with the other sports. Let's hear it for the San Diego Unified School Board.