High school football players allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at a male cheerleader, aged just 14.
The incident on October 18 at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California, saw the teen targeted with homophobic chants from varsity football players, who branded him a “fag” for being part of the cheerleading squad.
According to local newspaper Mercury News, school officials asked the Santa Clara Police Department to investigate after the teen and another female cheerleader were threatened with violence.
The boy, who is not being named, is still attending school.
Father of cheerleader is ‘fearful for his safety’.
His father told the newspaper: “We are fearful for his safety — now more than ever
“Even after everything that happened, he went back [to the field] and faced it.
“He’s so courageous. He has a responsibility to his team and to the school. He’s out there to cheer the football team and this is what they do.”
The school said in a statement: “At Santa Clara Unified School District, we proactively work to create an environment that embraces diversity and we do not tolerate harassment or bullying of any kind.”
Thousands demand action after ‘sickening’ incident.
A petition in support of the bullied teen has attracted more than 2,800 supporters.
It states: “Despite the fact that the cheerleaders spend hours of their day cheering on various sports teams, these football members thought it appropriate to be cruel and harass a single cheerleader based on their biases and prejudice.
“While many people are aware of this incident, there is a slim chance much will be done to change this behaviour by tweeting/posting about it.
“The main purpose of this petition is to call the administration and football coaches to attention, so they can investigate this incident.ADVERTISING
“This sickening incident requires consequences, so it never happens to someone again. It would be greatly appreciated if you shared this.”
The Los Angeles Rams made history at the Super Bowl earlier this yearby including two male cheerleaders on the cheer squad.
Other NFL teams including the New England Patriots have since added male cheerleaders to their rosters, with a surge in men trying out at the top levels of the sport.