PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - Senior Ally Batista loves being a cheerleader at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, but she loves her academic future even more.
Batista intends to take her first available SAT this Saturday, even though she will miss a cheer event.
That would be Ally's 'third strike' according to school cheerleading policy.
"It's ridiculous," Ally said. "My priority is school and I am taking the SAT regardless."
Ally must take the Saturday test to make the early admissions deadline. She hopes to double major at Purdue in computer science and international business.
Her first two 'strikes' came last spring. Once when she had a lead role in a school play after cheer events were over for the term, except for practices. The other strike came when she attended the swim team banquet with her boyfriend. She grants that one does merit a strike.
Ally, the school's Homecoming Queen, watched as her mom appealed to the school's assistant principal and cheer coach without success.
"I feel they had their minds made up," said her mom, Pam Hooper. "They were going to punish girls who took the test. The coach only responded briefly to me via e-mails, she hasn't returned my calls."
The school says it will suspend Ally from the team for three weeks, meaning she cannot cheerlead or even attend the school's games, which include a showdown with rival Pflugerville High on Oct. 18.
"We believe it is a mischaracterization to say that any student is being punished for taking the SAT," the district said in a statement. "When cheerleaders miss a scheduled event for any reason they are aware there will be disciplinary consequences."
"They should be able to take this SAT test without any stress or frustration," Ally's mom said.
As for resuming her cheerleading down the road, Ally says, "I don't know if it's worth being on the team for three more weeks. It's a hard decision for me."
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