High school assistant principal suspended after comparing cheerleaders to strippers — and some say it was 'racist'

Erin Donnelly

A high school assistant principal has been suspended following an outcry over comments she made comparing the school’s cheerleaders to strippers.

As local news outlet Hometown Life reports, the official made the controversial remarks following a routine performed during the Sept. 21 homecoming weekend for Harrison High School in Farmington Hills, Mich. The administrator — whom the school district initially declined to name but who has since been identified as Harrison assistant principal Angela Leach — reportedly found the performance to be too provocative.

According to a letter addressing the situation on the school district website, Leach referred to two students as “strippers.” She later apologized to the squad when school resumed on Monday, and a letter was sent to the families of the cheerleaders.

Leach has been suspended while a Title IX investigation gets underway, and the incident was a hot topic at a school board meeting held Tuesday night.

A school official has since apologized for the inappropriate comment about cheerleaders. (Photo: Zia Soleil/Getty Images)
A school official has since apologized for the inappropriate comment about cheerleaders. (Photo: Zia Soleil/Getty Images)

WDIV-TV in Detroit reports that parents are divided over whether the remark was racially motivated, as the majority of the cheer squad is comprised of black girls.

“I just want to respectfully say to all of you that the denial of racist or racist bias should be an embarrassment,” one parent, Mabel Fox, said during the Oct. 16 meeting.

“It was not bullying, and it was not a racist remark,” WJBK-TV (Fox 2) in Detroit quotes another parent as saying, “It was an inappropriate comment.”

One thing parents can agree on is that the comment was ill-advised.

“When difficult events occur, it is important to keep in the forefront that we remain committed to creating an environment where every student can succeed and achieve their potential,” noted George C. Heitsch, Farmington Public Schools superintendent, in his online letter about the controversy. “This means creating a positive learning environment built on civility and respect.”

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