Girl Says She Was Told Breasts Too Large for Cheerleading
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A 17-year-old girl who says she was kept off the cheerleading squad because her breasts are too big filed a $1 million claim against her school district Wednesday.
Vicki Ann Guest said in a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court in conjunction with the damage claim that she was subjected to embarrassment and ridicule, her attorney, Gloria Allred, said at a news conference.
The damage claim was filed against the Huntington Beach Unified High School District, Ms. Allred said.
The lawsuit seeks to halt an alleged policy of judging cheerleading candidates on the size and shape of their breasts.
Miss Guest, who appeared at the news conference with her attorney and parents, said she tried out for the Fountain Valley High School cheerleading squad last April 12.
When she asked why she was not accepted, teacher Jean Clower told the girl her grades and performance were acceptable but her breasts were too large, Ms. Allred said.
The girl was urged to have breast reduction surgery, said Ms. Allred.
Miss Guest said she was stunned and immediately went home.
″She said my breasts were too large. I was devastated. I felt terrible,″ she said. ″A couple of days later when people found out about it I was really embarrassed.″
Miss Guest, a senior, said she was a cheerleader in elementary and junior high school.
Her mother, Ann Guest, said her daughter called her at work that day, and when she got home, the teen-ager was sobbing on a couch.
″What upset me was that my daughter believed this. She thought her body was wrong. She was embarrassed. She just wanted to die,″ Mrs. Guest said.
District spokeswoman Cathy McGough said district lawyers told officials not to comment, but she added, ″I can tell you that our version of the events is different.″
The suit claims the district violated Miss Guest’s constitutional rights to equal protection and equal opportunity.
″Most teen-age women are insecure about their bodies and the size and shape of her breasts,″ said Ms. Allred. ″The size or shape of their breasts should be totally irrelevant to their qualifications.″
The claim was filed along with the lawsuit because in California, monetary damages cannot be obtained from governmental entities in court until a claim filed with the governmental entity has been rejected.