Mesa school pulls plug on 'California Gurls' cheer routine - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mesa school pulls plug on 'California Gurls' cheer routine

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Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 5:36 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Thu Jul 22, 2010.

The principal of Mesa’s Taylor Junior High School and its cheerleading advisor have decided to pull the plug on the popular song “California Gurls” after determining that even an edited version of the song was not appropriate for cheerleaders to perform because of its risque lyrics.

Taylor’s freshman cheerleading squad was set to perform the popular song performed by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg during football halftime shows and school pep rallies this coming school year. But one of the squad’s members and her mother protested the use of the tune after hearing the song in its entirety.

Last week, Kaylee Glover, 14, was given the choice by cheerleading advisor Cynthia Calderon to continue performing to an edited version of the song with the rest of the squad or sit out practice sessions.

Kaylee began performing the edited version of the song with the squad last month, but after she took the full version of the song home so her mother could hear it, her mother thought it was inappropriate. Jheri Glover expressed that opinion in a conversation with Taylor Junior High Principal Gina Piraino on Tuesday, and later that day the song was dropped.

Kathy Bareiss, a Mesa schools spokeswoman, told the Tribune that decision was made after a meeting between Piraino and Calderon.

“After reviewing the lyrics and looking at it from a parent’s point of view, they agreed it was best to choose another song for the cheerleaders,” Bareiss said. “Even if the song were edited, it did not matter. It was still inappropriate for the girls to perform to, and they did not want to do anything to put the cheerleading squad in a bad light.”

Calderon declined to comment when contacted by the Tribune. Piraino became principal at Taylor Junior High on July 15 and was unaware of the cheer routine until Tuesday.

Some of the lyrics of the complete song contain phrases like “Sex on a beach,” and “Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns,” as well as “Homeboys hangin’ out, all that (a**) hangin’ out.” Some phrases were edited out for the cheerleaders’ performance when the song was re-burned onto another CD, a computer process of copying music.

“I was pretty much in shock,” Kaylee said of hearing the complete song. “I couldn’t believe it was our song. I don’t think we should be dancing to that song, even if it’s edited. Even if it’s edited, with all the sexual stuff, it’s still impossible to lose the meaning. I’m not going to cheer to it, I’m just going to have to sit out.”

“California Gurls” is among the 10 most popular songs on iTunes this month, and Perry is the artist of the month on the website musiclovers.com.

“It doesn’t matter how you edit it, almost every line is inappropriate,” Jheri Glover said.

When Kaylee returned to cheerleading practice and showed the words of the complete song to Calderon, she said her advisor thanked her for bringing it to her attention, and brought the issue of the song to a vote. However, the other girls initially decided to keep the song.

Kaylee’s grandmother, Diane Hale, who is the tennis coach at Taylor Junior High, told the Tribune she did not think other parents would want their kids listening to this song during school assemblies or games.

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