ACLU threatens to sue Kenosha school district over 'Big Boobie', 'Big Booty' cheer awards

KENOSHA, Wis. (WLS) -- The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the Kenosha Unified School District over inappropriate awards given to school cheerleaders.

The awards were allegedly handed out during a banquet in March 2018, according to a letter sent by the ACLU to the district on Tuesday, expressing concerns about sexual harassment, gender discrimination and body shaming.

The letter said the coaches poked fun at cheerleaders and handed out awards that focused on the girls' body parts, including "Big Boobie" and "Big Booty" awards. More than 150 people attended the banquet, including parents.

While handing out the "Big Boobie" award, the letter said the coaches talked about "what a feat" it was that the cheerleader could make it through her routines with her "enormous boobs," all while speaking into a microphone.

WATCH: Raw video from cheerleading banquet
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The ACLU obtained video from the cheerleading banquet in which you can hear a coach allegedly saying "We love her butt. Everybody loves her butt."

While handing out the "Big Booty" award, the coaches said, "We love her butt. Everybody loves her butt.'"

The letter said the coaches also gave out an award for the team's "String Bean," or the skinniest girl on the team, to a freshman.

The ACLU said another athletic coach expressed concern in an email to the school's principal the next month, writing: "I feel that I need to tell you this for the protection of these girls . . . I don't think it takes much to see that this is extremely degrading to women."

In a follow-up email, the same coach wrote: "The last thing these high school girls need is a fellow woman in their lives communicating to them that they are objects or that their appearance is something to be gawked at, demeaned, laughed at, or even awarded for that matter."

WISN reports the school principal investigated the incident, and later told parents the awards "were meant to be funny" and the coaches were "just joking around."

Patti Uttech, one of the cheerleading coaches, said in a statement to ABC7: "I honestly don't feel that I need to explain myself."

Uttech remains a coach, although she is not a teacher.

The ACLU has asked the district to appropriately discipline cheerleading coaches and better protect girls on the squad or risk litigation.

A district spokesperson said the awards are not acceptable and will not be given out again.
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