11-year-old cheerleaders suspended from team for photo of them holding beer bottles in St. Augustine

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Three 11-year-old girls are suspended from their middle school cheerleading team indefinitely after a photo of them holding beer bottles in their uniforms on St. Augustine Beach was posted on Facebook.

The photo shows the girls pretending to drink something from beer bottles after a team photo session at the beach on Saturday.

"One of the girls sent a bunch of pictures to her mom, and included those beer pictures," mother Tara Therre told Action News Jax. "And that mom accidentally -- she didn't do this on purpose -- accidentally uploaded these onto her Facebook account."

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She said the bottles were not filled with beer, and several of the parents think the punishment is too harsh.

"It's completely affecting everything for these girls, just from a decision to take a stupid picture," Therre said.

She said her family got an email from the athletic association on Wednesday.

"My husband already reprimanded her. They're in trouble for that and that's our job as the parent -- not the school, not anyone else's job," she said.

Parents said they plan to show up at a Nov. 15 board meeting and appeal the decision.

Action News Jax reached out to St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association President Justin Palesotti.

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He said the photo was a violation of the student code of conduct and state law.

“You don’t need to be a parent or a board member to see why this is not OK," he said. "With that said, no meeting or conversation with the parties involved is going to change the fact that what took place was a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, as well as Florida state law.”

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