By Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
Ever since a video surfaced that showed hundreds of Cedar Falls High School students at a teen-organized Jell-O wrestling event, there have been plenty of discussions and comments around the community. Many believe it was an inappropriate event. Another portion believes the entire situation is being blown way out of proportion.
There are legitimate elements of truth in both perceptions.
Perhaps the best result of the whole Jell-O wrestling blitz is that it has probably piqued the interest of many parents who were otherwise oblivious.
For sure, this is a parent/child issue. Even though district officials are showing plenty of concern, it’s outside of their responsibilities.
Police, as well, say they can’t do much about it. At least at this point. The students respected park hours and cleaned the area — and broke no laws. In past years, two arrests were made after two females reported being assaulted outside of the pool. Underage drinking and vandalism to vehicles were also reported in previous years.
We appreciate the fact that Cedar Falls police, in an attempt to be proactive, were on hand this year. Two officers were there for the nearly two-hour festivities at Birdsall Park. Others officers joined them later.
We assume a certain percentage of parents had no idea of the activities. Video has changed that.
“Jello Wrestling 2012 Highlights,” posted by JelloXGames last week was removed from the website.
“My sense is there was a lot of peer pressure to take it down because a lot of parents were seeing their kids in less-than-flattering situations,” said Cedar Falls High School Principal Rich Powers. “There are a lot of well-known students’ faces in the middle of that. That’s not the type of behavior our community wants, our schools want, our parents want.”
From what was seen on the video, it could have been labeled “Jell-O punching,” “Jell-O hair-pulling” or “Jell-O shirt removal.” In fact, the stated objective is to get the other girl’s shirt off.
That may have been a small part, but the fact is, that’s what’s on the video that has been seen far and wide — taken in a public park where, theoretically, anyone could come up to spectate.
“A majority of students don’t see an issue with it, and sadly, there are a number of parents that support the event and created Jell-O for it,” Powers said. “I think it’s all of our responsibilities to help them understand that they’re objectifying women. They’re demeaning and humiliating themselves. They may be popular for a moment, but that may quickly turn into embarrassment.”
Powers called on the community to help approach the issue. So we will weigh in.
By having at least four police officers present at one time, we’re now dipping into community resources for an event that many in the community would say shouldn’t be happening in the first place — either by taking officers away from normal patrol duties, or paying to have others available solely for this event.
We appreciate the responsibility of cleaning up and respecting park hours. However, if this is going to be an annual event, supported by at least some Jell-O-making parents, there should be another responsibility:
Either provide and/or hire the security and supervision that is needed.