Can a Hooters girl coach Janesville high school poms?

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
— A local woman said she believes school officials won’t consider her for a job coaching a pompon squad unless she quits her job at Hooters.

Jennifer Roehl said she’s been a volunteer coach for the Parker High School JV pompon squad this summer and has volunteered for the program since she graduated from Parker in 2007.

She’ll quit her job at Hooters, she said, to give herself a chance at the vacant paid coaching job. On Tuesday, she told her manager of the decision, she said. She plans to meet with Athletic Director Rick Lehman today to find out if she will be allowed to give two weeks’ notice at the restaurant.

That will give her time to find another job, Roehl said.

“I don’t want to leave on bad terms when I don’t even want to leave at all,” she said.

Roehl said she has been a Hooters waitress for more than a year. She also tends bar at the Janesville restaurant.

Roehl said the school’s athletic director told her Friday she would not be hired as coach and that it was Principal Steve Schroeder’s decision.

Roehl met Monday with Schroeder and Lehman to find out why. She said the administrators would not say Hooters was the problem, but she was convinced from their comments that it was.

Roehl said she was told she had to change something in her background, experience or employment to be considered for the job.

Schroeder said that’s not quite right. He said he told her that administrators take those elements into account when evaluating a candidate. As of that moment, he said, he didn’t think she would be hired.

“I guess what she takes from that is up to her,” Schroeder said.

“… If she thinks there’s something she can do to improve and make herself a better candidate, then we obviously want her to do it as quickly as possible.”

Schroeder said he learned of Roehl’s job at Hooters when he read it on her application.

The coaching job paid about $1,900 last year, Schroeder said.

Roehl said she has coached the JV girls through the summer. She said Monday she has bonded with the girls, and coaching them is more important than her job, so she planned to give notice to Hooters and seek employment elsewhere.

“We’ve really worked hard for this. They worked really hard, and as a coach, I owe it to them,” Roehl said.

Schroeder would not say whether working at Hooters would raise a red flag on a coaching-job application.

“A lot of people are going to have a lot of different feelings about that. The best I can tell you is we take as much as we can into consideration when we recommend someone for a job when they’re going to work with young people,” Schroeder said.

Steve Sperry, the school district’s director of human resources, was asked hypothetically if bartending might weigh against a coaching candidate. Sperry said that is a personnel question, so he can’t comment.

Asked if being a stripper could hurt a candidate’s chances, Sperry said: “I think what you’re looking at are standards. I guess we would be responsible to answer to ourselves as role models, but we’d also have to answer to the public, and I guess that’s about as far as I could share.”

Asked specifically about Hooters, Sperry again declined to comment.

Asked what the district’s standards are, Sperry referred to the district’s new “Standards of Professional Behavior.”

The standards are contained in a lengthy document. Sperry would not say what part of the standards applies in this case.

The standards say, in part, that employees should serve as positive role models, demonstrate concern for students’ moral development and promote a positive image of the schools.

Roehl said she doesn’t see a problem with Hooters, and administrators told her that no parent has complained.

“I’m not stripping or anything,” Roehl said. “Some people might compare it to that, but it’s not even close. I mean, families come in there.”

The Hooters waitress uniform includes tight, low-neck tank tops and short shorts over panty hose. The outfits are not much different than what some women wear on a hot summer day, but Hooters acknowledges on its Web site that “female sex appeal” is a part of its restaurants’ atmosphere.

“The girls (on the poms squad) have come in with their parents. None of the parents have a problem with it. Some teachers come in there,” Roehl said.

Roehl said team members held signs at last Friday’s football game saying, “Don’t take away our coach.” She said she is proud of them for fighting for what they believe in.

Schroeder said Tuesday he still was evaluating Roehl’s application and that there was one other applicant.

Roehl on Tuesday said JV poms is “paused” until she or another person is chosen to coach the squad.

Last updated: 11:35 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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