PALOUSE, WA. - A male student at Garfield-Palouse High School in Palouse is a cheerleader but he isn't content with doing typical male cheerleader stunts. He wants to do the same dances and kicks and fist pumps as the females, but his mom says school administrators are discriminating against him and preventing him from cheering.
Benjamin Grundy's mom Suzanne says school administrators are discriminating against him by not allowing him to do everything the girls do.
"At the beginning of the current season I was told I'd be able to participate in everything other cheerleaders would do, including the dance routine," Benjamin Grundy said.
However later according to the Grundys Gar-Pal's athletic director pressured him to be the mascot instead of a cheerleader. Later he was forbidden from moving his legs and feet, dancing or even shaking his hips when he cheered.
"I was reduced to standing there and moving my arms," Benjamin said. "I didn't lift my legs or move from the place I was at, I just stood there."
"I think the combination of a bi-racial, mentally challenged gay male may be too much for them," Suzanne said, adding that she feels the school is embarrassed by her son and are discriminating against him.
Gar-Pal's principal and district superintendent Beverly Fox says she can't comment on the specific case and can't comment on Benjamin Grundy but she did say that "our policy is that every student has the right that everybody has and there is not discrimination."
?We really honor the rights of students and I really can't talk about specifics,? Fox said.
Suzanne Grundy insists her son is being discriminated against and has written everyone from the ACLU to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers about the situation. Since Benjamin and his mom were interviewed by KXLY and Suzanne wrote those letters he has received an official cheer uniform and pom-poms.
The school has offered to have a third party conduct an investigation into the case but the Grundys aren?t satisfied with the offer. They say Ben has endured severe emotional trauma and want discrimination seminars at the school, formal reprimands for the coach, athletic director and for the superintendent and principal.
They are also pushing to get Congress involved.
?I hope if the school ever does get another male cheerleader this won't happen to them and that they'll be able to be a full par of the squad,? Benjamin said.
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