Dear Editor:

We are writing this letter in defense of our 6-year-old daughter who has been wronged by LABC (Lehighton Area Booster Club). Our daughter cheered for football but is not allowed to cheer for wrestling (age is 7 and she is 5 days shy). We asked for her to be the mascot (wrestling and football have had numerous mascots, even ages 3 and 4 in the past, including this past football season a few months ago). We were told yes, she could be the mascot by the LABC President who also felt this was a great idea and given stipulations of no stunts, pyramids, and could not perform the routine and told of the practice schedule so she could learn the chants/cheers and sit on the sidelines and participate.

The cheer coach also notified us as per the LABC President telling her it was OK for our daughter to be the mascot but, with the same stipulations mentioned above. We are a bit over two weeks into practice and I was told by the LABC President that another officer is causing a stink and our daughter can no longer go to practice or be the mascot. (We did sign her up, pay registration fee, which was accepted by two officers and a Board Trustee). How do you tell a 6-year-old child she can not do something she was told she could do and, has been practicing at with the rest of the team for a few weeks now? Is this not an organization for children and about children?

Yes, I was very upset, was crying, and hurt for our child and may have acted in a way I shouldn't have BUT, I apologized numerous times that evening if I offended anyone. All our daughter does is talk, play, and count the days until the next practice….what else does a 6-year-old have to look forward to but fun, kid stuff? The cheer coach, as well as us, abided by all the stipulations set forth. Our daughter was not a bother, loved being there, helped others, caught on and enjoyed everything about it.

After being approached from another LABC officer that evening via email she stated, "now I have to go to an executive meeting tomorrow night – my only free night in over a week to discuss something I am extremely confused about". It's amazing how much time and energy can be put into a 6-year-old child being a mascot but issues of importance are brushed under the rug.

We have gone to bat in years past for others children who were also being wronged by LABC. When approached and after much discussion, LABC did realize the children were being wronged and suffering for the mistake of an adult. Same is happening again….an adult who is President of the LABC made a decision and told a 6-year-old girl and her family she could do something, it may have been wrong on his part without going through the proper channels but, it was done. She was practicing and part of the team for over two weeks and is now no longer part of the team. When asked what we want them to do, we told them just make good on what you told the child. If you decide not to have a mascot from here on out, do right for this year and make it a rule in the by-laws for next year. We also asked to see the by-laws after this decision and was told no, they are for active members and trustees only (was told this from the trustee who phoned with the final decision)…isn't this a public, non-profit organization where all information is public including by-laws?

We are also being questioned and ridiculed for pulling our other children from other LABC sports. This is our decision as parents, why would we want any of our children to be part of an organization that does this to a child, let alone their own sibling? We are teaching all of our children a life lesson here. Your family is the most important thing and you stand by them.

I am teaching my children morals, values, integrity, and how to stand up for what you believe in as well as to stand behind your word. We stand behind our words and actions here and am only sorry that a child, our child this time, was the one hurt over something that should have never turned into what it did. The LABC should have stood behind the word of their President as the President should have also stood behind his word. That word being given to a child and their family,... our child, our family.

Peter and SusanSalerno

Lehighton