May 26, 2019

At Wisconsin High School, Accusations of Body Shaming at a Cheerleading Banquet

At Wisconsin High School, Accusations of Body Shaming at a Cheerleading Banquet

At least four people, including a track and field coach at the school, reached out to Tremper’s principal, Steve Knecht, and school district administrators to complain about the awards. In an email to Mr. Knecht reviewed by The Times, the track coach wrote, “I feel that I need to tell you this for the protection of these girls,” and explained that it did not take “much to see that this is extremely degrading to women.”

Mr. Knecht did not respond to several requests for comment.

When Mr. Knecht questioned Ms. Uttech about the awards, she told him that the Big Boobie and Big Booty awards were first given out in 2017, and that the 2017 senior class had decided on them because the stunts the cheerleaders perform require a lot of physical contact. “They are always getting butts in their faces and other body parts,” she told school administrators, according to a formal summary of the meeting obtained by The Times.

In 2017, Ms. Uttech also gave a brunette cheerleader a blonde wig for being “a ditzy girl,” according to a letter sent to Ms. Uttech by a school official that was obtained by The Times.

Ms. Uttech, who does not teach at the school, said in an email to administrators that the Boobie and Booty awards were “a huge hit and truly lots of laughs and fun” and were not meant to hurt anyone. “Their parents thought it was the funniest thing,” she said.

Ms. Uttech forwarded Mr. Knecht an email from a parent of one of the current award-winners. In the note, which The Times reviewed, the parent wrote that the girl found the award — which was the Big Boobie award, according to several cheerleaders and parents at the banquet — amusing and “is not shy about the fact that she earned it fair and square.”

“We understand that we are in a politically correct world these days, but we do like to have fun and keep thing on the lighter side,” Ms. Uttech wrote to the principal.

A parent of one of the girls who won an award declined to speak with The Times for this article, and parents of the other two cheerleaders did not respond to requests for comment.

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