Amber Page, a then 17-year old South Grand Prairie High School cheerleader and A average student, was paddled in 1999 for having been caught smoking a cigarette in the school parking lot.
Given the choice of receiving a paddling or in-school suspension, Amber agreed to be paddled. On the day she was supposed to receive her punishment, she put on four pairs of underwear and wore a thick pair of overalls. But when she went to the office to receive her punishment, she was told she would not be paddled that day and instead was told she was being kicked off the cheerleading squad even though the student handbook did not specify punishments for being caught smoking. Amber cried, but thought that was the end of the matter.
A week later, however, one of the assistant principals spotted Amber, who was wearing a short denim skirt. She was told to come to the office and the door was closed. Assistant principals Mike Cook and Benny Reed were inside and Amber was told to turn around and bend over. One of the males then paddled her. Amber felt mortified.
Amber later recalled the humiliating position she was in for the paddling to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, saying that she wished there had been a woman present, given her state of dress and embarrassing position.
"That's the least they should do," she said.
Amber had earlier been elected to be the captain of the school's varisty cheerleading squad. But after having been kicked off the squad, the captaincy was instead awarded to the daughter of the assistant principal who had caught Amber smoking.
Amber felt strongly that schools in her district discriminated against cheerleaders. The Forth Worth Star-Telegram reported that male athletes caught smoking received merely a ten-day suspension from their team. Furthermore, many cheerleaders in the district were also required to maintain higher grade point averages than football players.
Grand Prairie Superintendent David Barbosa publicly admitted as such. "Everybody wanted cheerleaders held to a higher standard than other organizations," Barbosa said.
- Nothing to cheer about - Arlington Morning News, Texas, 29 May 1999