DES MOINES, Iowa – The girls synchronized swimming club at Roosevelt High School thought it would be hilarious to hire a male stripper for its annual banquet, but parents and school officials aren’t laughing.
The male stripper made it about 15 minutes through his routine at the Des Moines Social Club and did not completely disrobe before a club employee forced the man to leave during the banquet Friday, The Des Moines Register reports.
“They were doing it as a joke and a prank. They didn’t realize, as many 14- and 15-year-old girls and boys don’t, the ramifications of their decision,” Roosevelt principal Kevin Biggs told the news site. “They thought it would be funny, and it wasn’t until things got going that everyone realized it wasn’t good.”
No school employees attended the banquet, the stripper had no physical contact with the students, and student club funds were not spent on his services, the principal said.
“This is a black eye on the club, but they raise a tremendous amount of money for charity every year,” Briggs said. “They do a lot of great community service work and that’s what our seniors are most proud of, and yet this has taken over the news on the eve of their pageant.”
Biggs told KSLA a relative of one of the students hired the dancer. The Sharks Swim Club is expected to proceed with its pageant this week with shows from Thursday through Saturday.
Graham Gillette’s daughter participates in the freshman synchronized swim club, but he did not attend the event Friday and heard about it afterwards.
“This year, the freshman (9th grade) girls, as a joke, made a bad decision and hired a male dancer,” he said. “A parent supposedly was there, but didn’t realize what was going on.”
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Gillette said he was impressed with how the Des Moines Social Club and school district handled the situation.
“It was just teenagers making bad decisions,” he said. “These freshman thought that it was going to be funny, and they found out very quickly that it was the opposite.”
None of the students on the swim club were punished for the incident, because they did not break any laws or school policies, Biggs said.
“We’re troubled greatly by this, but we’re also bound to follow policies of the school and the school district,” he said. “They did not violate any code of conduct policies, because, believe it or not, no laws were broken. That surprised us as well.”
The principal said the swim club’s upperclassmen were also not amused by the stripper, and are concerned notoriety from the incident could damage their hard work in the community.
“They’ve written checks upwards of $2,000 or $3,000 to various charities throughout the city and community because of their work,” Biggs said. “It’s just things like this that unfortunately bring a bad light on it.”
“I think the lesson can be taught from our student leaders, to the freshmen and our parents to their children, and us to our groups, that even though it’s not a school and it’s not during the school day, you still represent … whatever school you’re associated with, and the community that you live in,” he said.
The Sharks, reportedly the oldest high school synchronized swim club in the United States, was founded in 1926, according to Flickr.