AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than a third of a Round Rock ISD high school’s cheerleading team got kicked off the team, following what the district describes as “code of conduct” violations.
Seven of Westwood High School’s 20 team members were removed, and two others quit.
A statement from Round Rock ISD said, “The violations relate to activities in the “zero tolerance” category. Parents have the option of asking for a grievance hearing if they believe the decision should be reviewed and at least four have done so at this point.”
Several former team members said most of the violations had to do with old photos on social media of the girls vaping.
“A lot, if not all of the photos were from before we signed this new one and done policy, and I think that’s one of the most unfair parts about this,” said Senior Lily Baizer.
KXAN was unable to verify when the photos were taken.
The former cheerleaders also said there’s a double standard.
Over summer they signed a zero-tolerance policy.
The policy reads in part: “Zero Tolerance The use, possession of, or association with tobacco, drugs, and/or alcohol at any time while being a member of the cheerleading team is prohibited. This includes weekends, holidays, and during the summer… Violation of these will result in your removal from the squad.”
Other athletes are not required to agree to the same standards.
For both boys and girls athletic teams, the penalty is a three-week suspension for the first offense, second offense is suspension for the remainder of the year, and the third offense is permanent dismissal.
“It just [left] no room for error for us, whereas if they make a mistake it’s okay,” Baizer said.
A Round Rock ISD spokesperson responded and said, “Different programs have varying levels of requirements and consequences. While cheerleaders are certainly athletes, the program is also considered a student leadership organization.”
According to a report published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, one in four high school seniors reported vaping in the last 30 days.
At least four of the girls’ parents are appealing the decision to the principal and area superintendent.