Some describe the Texas cheerleader scandal as “girls gone wild,” and others say it’s a case of parenting gone wrong. In any case, the behavior and antics of the senior cheerleaders at North McKinney High School in 2006 were serious.
History of Bawdy Behavior
Karrissa Theret, Danielle Billelo, Shaunika Dancy, Brittney Rader, and Elizabeth Griffin formed the “Fab Five.” The scandal was the result of the girls’ bad behavior for a period of four years beginning in 2002. Their behavior was described as “blatantly mean to other students, obnoxiously rude to their teachers, and callously manipulative of their coaches.”
A Lack of Discipline
It has been reported that parents and school administration tolerated and even enabled such behavior. Linda Theret, principal of North McKinney High School, is also Karrissa Theret’s mother. In addition to failing to discipline the girls, she was accused of covering up their behavior to allow them to remain on the squad.
They went through five cheerleading coaches in three years because they refused to be disciplined. Their last coach was Michaela Ward. Towards the end of 2006, she tried to put an end to what she perceived as a culture of entitlement.
Cheerleaders Behaving Badly
North McKinney High School cheerleaders caused a scandal by posing in racy photos while wearing their uniforms. In 2006, they posted the photos online.
The Notorious Pictures
Cheer girls were depicted in a variety of compromising situations in the infamous photos. They included bikini girls sharing bottles of booze and girls in risqué poses showing off their underwear. The final straw came when the “Fab Five” posed (in uniform no less) holding penises-shaped candles at Condoms to Go. It appeared that one of the girls was simulating oral sex. MySpace posted the photos.
Scapegoating Michaela Ward
Media attention centered on the Fab Five photos, but cheerleading coach Michaela Ward was forced to resign in October 2006 after the administration undermined all efforts to discipline the girls.
In an attempt to make the school administration look even worse, they released a public attack on Ward’s character and accused her of making false accusations. In many ways, she became the scapegoat of this story by suing the school district.
A Formal Investigation
In the winter of 2006, Dallas attorney Harold Jones found numerous parties at fault, including the administration and cheerleading coach Michaela Ward. The photos merely depicted what had become a four-year tyranny of the Fab Five. According to one teacher, the girls were so untouchable that gang members were nothing.
Who’s at Fault in the Texas Cheerleader Scandal?
In this story, it is difficult to determine who is at fault. After a thorough investigation, most people believe Harold Jones, noting that what was missing was an adult willing to step up. Jones believes no one was innocent in this situation. Citations include:
- For befriending and enabling the girls, Michaela Ward
- For covering up scandals and failing to discipline the girls, Linda Theret
- The choice of career advancement over stepping up by other teachers
- Disobedient and flippant girls
- Richard Brunner, assistant principal, for looking the other way
- To make more money, the media sensationalizes stories and runs amok with them
Ward, who was 26 at the time, never disciplined the girls and tried to get chummy with them. According to Ward, they “never had that sort of relationship.”
Where Are They Now?
All parties involved appear to have moved on from the original scandal, although it still appears prominently in web searches.
The Fab Five
Few details can be found online about a few of the former cheerleaders since the incident.
- She is currently working for Flexport in New York City as an event and office manager.
- It is possible that Shaunika Dancy is an aspiring actress or model.
- Currently, Karrissa Theret resides in either Lufkin or Nacogdoches, Texas.
- At TierPoint in Dallas, Brittney Rader is the Director of Business Development.
- Griffin graduated from high school early and attended college.
Theret lost her job as principal as a result of the incidents. She claims, however, that those in authority over her resisted her attempts to discipline the girls. The Laredo Independent School District hired Linda Theret as Executive Director of Curriculum in 2009, a position she still holds today.
Ward believes she was the only voice of reason in the situation. It was certainly the best outcome for her. Her character was slammed by the district and the media, but she is still coaching cheerleading and pursuing a master’s degree. Her lawsuit against the school district for wrongful termination and defamation was eventually dropped.
A Case of Discretionary Discipline
There is a certain amount of discretion available to many school officials in difficult situations. All adult parties in this case say they acted appropriately given the circumstances. Based on these events, Lifetime Television made a movie in 2008.