An 11-year-old girl who was thrown off a Nebraska elementary school’s junior cheerleading squad because she refused to “shake her booty” says that while the gyrations may be a crowd-pleaser, she doesn’t think young girls should be moving their bodies like that.
“It just felt wrong. I don’t know why,” Faylene Frampton said Wednesday during an interview on TODAY with Tamron Hall. “It just didn’t feel it was a cheer that was appropriate for kids of my age or younger.”
The sixth-grader from Ashland, Neb., says she complained to cheerleading coach Tina Harris in the past that she did not feel comfortable with the cheer, which is number 33 in the squad’s 44-cheer routine.
The cheer calls upon Faylene and younger members of the squad — including some in the second grade — to turn their backs to the bleachers, bend over, and move their pelvises from side to side.
Taking a stand
The cheer had been used in the past, but Faylene says never liked doing it and told the coach so. So when Harris gave the signal for “shake your booty” on Oct. 10, the third-to-last game of the season, she decided it was time to put her foot down — both of them, actually — and take a stand.
Faylene, the oldest and most senior of the junior cheerleaders, refused to do the cheer and was sent home. Later, her father was informed by the coach during a phone call that Faylene was being benched for the last two games for disrespecting the coach.
But for her mother, Sabrina Bobzien, Faylene’s act of defiance was a moment to be proud of. Her adolescent daughter did not feel comfortable doing something she felt was wrong, and took a firm stand despite the consequences, the mother said.
“I’m proud she had a voice and she used it,” Bobzien said.
Coach Harris told the local NBC affiliate that she didn’t find the cheer sexually suggestive or objectionable, but nonetheless dropped it from the last two games.Video: Tot cheerleader off squad over ‘booty’ cheer? (on this page)
She added that no one had complained about the cheer before, and that explaining the controversy, and her decision to bench Faylene for the remainder of the season, was difficult.
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As for Faylene, she said she would make the same decision again.
“I don't much regret it. I feel like what I did was right,” the 11-year-old told Hall.
The removal of a cheerleader for refusing to perform a cheer they didn’t feel comfortable about is not unprecedented. In September, 6-year-old Kennedy Tesch was removed from her cheerleading squad in Michigan because she didn’t like the wording of a cheer — which also included the term “booty.”
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