The rain on Saturday wasn’t the only glitch in last weekend’s Pierson Homecoming celebrations. On the night of the bonfire, held on Friday, rumors were circulating throughout the community that the senior class planned to present a cheer which hadn’t been vetted with the Pierson administration. Cafeteria manager Lisa Koehne, who was also supervising the festivities , pulled the class aside and implored them not to move ahead. However, when the group took to the stage their protest took on a different shape.
“They counted one, two, three and then they didn’t do anything. They stood there,” recalled principal Jeff Nichols.
The seniors, however, were undeterred by Friday’s warning. On Sunday, after performing their skit at Mashashimuet Park, they threw little scrolls tied with ribbons out into the audience. The rolled up pieces of paper contained the cheer they had intended to perform on Friday.
In the cheer, the seniors expressed some biting words for both their underclassmen and the Teachers Association of Sag Harbor (TASH). Certain members of the community felt negative references to “cross dressing boys,” mentions of drinking on a school trip and allusions to derogatory language for female students was offensive and inappropriate. By Monday morning, the senior class officers were called into a meeting with Nichols.
“We talked about protocol and the purpose of proofing the cheers. Within the chant there were a couple things said as students that they were free to comment on, like the TASH shirts, but we were very unhappy with the other things that were written,” said Nichols, although he wouldn’t disclose which specific passages he referenced with the students. Later in the day the whole class was brought into a meeting.
The seniors, added Nichols, were disqualified from receiving points for their float or their skit. However, it doesn’t appear the students will suffer further repercussions.