‘Sleevegate scandal’ was handled incorrectly by all parties

Jack Figy, senior, picks up his powderpuff shirt. This year there was a lot of controversy surrounding the design and decisions made regarding the junior and senior powderpuff shirts.

Photo by Davis Ellies

Jack Figy, senior, picks up his powderpuff shirt. This year there was a lot of controversy surrounding the design and decisions made regarding the junior and senior powderpuff shirts.

Abigail Davies, Copy editor

In this day and age, when a company does not give to its customers what it promises to, a full refund is issued and if it is a popular item, the consumers go into an uproar about the occurrence. A similar happening occurred Saturday night for the seniors and juniors of Appleton North High School as they realized that the long sleeve T-shirts they had ordered were actually short sleeves. A slew of comments, accusations, and defensiveness followed in the “scandal” of the year at North. While both sides think the other was in the wrong, I argue that in fact each side erred in the way they handled the situation. Both the students and cheerleading team handled the T-shirt debacle in a way that was both unprofessional and unfitting.

First of all, to have prevented this whole issue, as soon as they found out the T-shirts were short sleeve instead of long, the cheerleading team as a whole should have met with the moms right away and come up with an explanation for this fact. They should have then posted a full explanation of the occurrences and a detailed report of the price of the T-shirt per unit and why they purchased short sleeve instead of long. An addition of a solution, like a refund or an opportunity to return a shirt before customization, should have been offered. That way the student body would have been kept informed and up to date on the information. This would have been the most professional way for the team to handle the situation while making sure that the student body was content and realized what happened was a mistake and that the team was willing to make it up to them if need be.

In addition, the cheer team should have been more unified in the whole T-shirt ordering process. The blame for the entire event has been placed on the back of a single parent, the one who stepped up to order the shirts. But why did the cheerleading team itself not volunteer to order the T-shirts? As high school students nearing our maturity, we are more than fit to do something as simple as order shirts from a company. The cheerleaders were fully aware that the tradition is to have a long sleeve shirt, so if even one senior cheerleader had stepped up to order or help order the shirts, this whole issue would have been prevented. While the cheerleaders should not be blamed for what has happened, they should engage in introspection to see if they truly took enough of the responsibility of their fundraiser on themselves.

Late Saturday night, the Facebook senior and junior pages began to light up with negative comments, some of which were rude or accusatory. It is understandable that a mistake causing the demolition of a tradition that had been held for many years would cause a community uproar, but the way many students reacted was not in the best manner possible. Rudeness occurred on both sides of the online argument, and caused a lot of tension and conflict on the page. This was a totally wrong and immature way for the senior class to act. We are nearing adulthood, many of us have cars, jobs, and are applying for college, eagerly awaiting the day we can vote and move out of the house. Yet, when a T-shirt is ordered wrong, instead of going straight to the source and petitioning for information and a factual explanation, we lashed out at a group of students who every year put the work in to make a product for us that we greatly appreciate. Yes, they made a mistake, but many of us handled it wrong. Only a few students were respectful in their answer, searching for facts and an explanation behind the mistake, and respectfully thanking the cheerleaders for all the hard work they put into this fundraiser while questioning why we got a product that we had not paid for. These are the few students who do not put our senior class to shame, as they are the only ones who acted in a mature and professional way.

As a class, we could let this mistake tear us apart and ruin our homecoming. But instead we could turn it into something good. The opportunity is available for us to donate the $3 refund to Alaya’s Red Granite Memorial Fund. What better way to turn a negative event into something that honors Alaya, while helping the community at the same time?  Although many of us will spend more than one chilly morning making the long walk to school in just a thin short sleeve T-shirt, we can use that time to dwell on the positive effect we had on a charity in our community, and how to handle an event like this in the future in a more mature and positive way.