Black Cheerleaders at Texas High

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TEXARKANA GAZETTE
Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas – Thursday, January 20, 1972

Two cheerleaders to be added to Texas High squad next year

buickrivieraThe Texas-side School Board did not approve the addition of two cheerleaders to the Texas High varsity squad for the 1972-73 school year Tuesday night according to Board President J. C. Crownover and he said the decision was made solely by the administration.

There was no board action taken on the matter, it was done by the administration, Crownover said. “The board was made aware of the situation but no action was taken by the board and any permission that was granted for the change was granted by the administration.

Victor Hlavinka, vice president of the board, said he felt the decision was an administrative matter. “Discussion on the matter was heard during an executive session of the board Tuesday night, but I had rather not comment on the discussion. Personally I am in accord with the decision.

It was announced to the student body at Texas Senior High School Tuesday morning by John Moore, principal, that permission had been granted to increase the number of varsity cheerleaders for the 1972-73 school year from eight to ten.

Moore told the students that of the 10 varsity cheerleaders to be elected, “eight white girls who get the most votes and two black girls who get the most votes will be cheerleaders for the 1972-73 school year.” Moore said the numbers were derived based on the percentage ration of black white students enrolled in the school, but did not say what might occur should more than two black girls get a majority of the popular vote.

He said to be eligible to be a cheerleader a girl must meet five qualifications.

(1) Must be a junior girl, (2) must have been in the pep squad during the 10th and 11th grade, (3) must have a grade average of 86. The grade average will be based on work done during the 10th grade and 1st semester of the 11th grade, (4) if the candidate is a transfer from another school, she must have been in the Pep Squad for one semester prior to the election and also meet the grade requirement, (5) following the tryouts the cheerleaders will be elected by popular vote. Students may vote for any or all of the number to be elected.

Moore said Wednesday “the board voiced their vocal approval” Tuesday for the addition of the two cheerleaders. No mention of the two additional cheerleaders to be added was made during the public meeting of the board Tuesday night.

Crownover said he felt the cheerleader program was an administrative matter, yet the board has taken frequent action in recent months on student dress.

Jim Covert, superintendent of Texas side schools, was critical of the newspaper and other Texarkana media Wednesday morning for making public the board’s discussion on the matter during the executive session Tuesday night.

Covert said he felt the situation was an internal problem and that “the board had a right to discuss it in executive session.” He said he felt the public should not be informed of discussions the board might have while in executive session and said no action was taken on the matter by the board Tuesday night.

He also accused the newspaper of trying to create a situation on the Texas High campus by reporting that the board had discussed the matter while in an executive session called for the purpose of discussing the superintendent’s contract Tuesday night.

The newspaper was made aware of the situation through a board source.


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TEXARKANA GAZETTE
Texarkana, Arkansas-Texas – Thursday, January 20, 1972

Most students agree new cheerleader system unfair

Although for a variety of different reasons, a cross section of Texas High students seem to be in agreement that the recently initiated system of electing eight white and two black cheerleaders in not the answer to anyone’s problem.

Viewing the situation from every angle, nearly every student interviewed—black and white—were of the opinion, “It’s not fair—to anyone.”

“If a black student meets the requirements, she should be and is, allowed to try out for cheerleader,” said one member of the 1971-72 cheerleading squad. “But I feel that of all the girls who try out, the eight who receive the most votes should become cheerleaders. Also, I don’t think there should be 10 cheerleaders.”

She explained that there are enough problems in maintaining organization among eight cheerleaders. It would be close to impossible to assemble 10 girls for practice sessions and other activities, she said.

One of the school’s prominent black athletes expressed his approval of the inception of black girls on the squad but admitted that the method of their election will have its flaws.

“Two are better than none, but I think that if three or more ‘black girls’ make it, they should be cheerleaders,” he said in reference to the fact that no more or no fewer than two black girls will be elected.

One of the questions which was posed to the black members of the cross section was. “If you were elected cheerleader under this system, would you cherish the position?”

One senior member of Texas High’s black contingent answered the question saying. “Due to the ration of whites to blacks, I would feel pretty well justified in being elected. On the other hand, if I were to receive so few votes as to make it evident that none of them were from white students, I wouldn’t feel too honored with the position.”

Another member of this year’s squad seemed to be able to find no justification for the new system. “It’s not at all fair,” she declared. For one thing, it guarantees them a spot on the squad. It degrades the blacks to be guaranteed anything—at least, it would degrade me.”

“I don’t think it’s either fair or unfair, but I think there should be six white and two blacks,” one black senior student responded “The way it is now there are still the eight whites. This seems to be more of a slap in the face to the blacks than anything else.”

Supporting the belief that the introduction of black cheerleaders is necessary to improve student relations, an outspoken white make student said that although he favored adding black cheerleaders to the squad, he felt that the black students wouldn’t appreciate having two cheerleading positions given them.

“To my knowledge, there have never been any black participants in cheerleader tryouts,” he said. “So, who knows, there might have been some black cheerleaders elected by the straight popular vote had it been allowed to continue.”

A comment by another of the cheerleaders probably most accurately summarizes the opinions of the students interviewed. “It’s unfair to the cheerleaders themselves not to be elected by popular vote,” she said. “That’s what makes it so special.”