BREAKING: SBCISD dismisses cheerleader bullying allegations as ‘unsubstantiated’

Managing Editor



A probe conducted by San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Special Education attorneys Buechler and Associates into allegations that members of the San Benito High School varsity cheerleading squad bullied and discriminated against a handicapped teammate were dismissed as “unsubstantiated,” SBCISD Community Relations Director Celia Longoria announced via a prepared statement on Wednesday.

Austin-based law firm Buechler and Associates was tasked with investigating allegations made in October by 17-year-old Alexandria Hernandez, a senior varsity cheerleader at SBHS who has a prosthetic leg, and Noe Treviño, who identified himself as Hernandez’ uncle and advocate. Treviño has specifically accused senior members of the varsity cheerleaders and their parents of discrimination and bullying for not including Hernandez in a photo.

The photo in question shows 10 of the 21 members of the varsity cheerleaders—all of whom are seniors—and was originally planned for a full page advertisement in the 2013 SBHS football program. The ad, however, was pulled from the program as well as from a scoreboard message, both of which were paid for by parents, when Treviño alleged that Hernandez was selectively excluded due to her handicap.

Colleen Duncan, the 52-year-old parent of one senior cheerleader, and other cheer moms and dads who spoke under anonymity have vehemently denied the allegations. Also, Duncan accused Treviño and Hernandez of being the bullies for what she believes were instances of harassment and assault committed against her and fellow cheerleaders and parents.

Duncan has accused Hernandez of accosting her at the Oct. 11 SBHS pep rally by pulling on the parent’s T-shirt, which displayed the photo Treviño initially raised concerns about, and while shouting profanities blamed Duncan’s apparel for the girl’s alleged cancer. Treviño has argued that Hernandez was driven to the outburst and should not face reprimand as a result.

At least one other parent, Duncan included, filed a report at the San Benito Police Department accusing Treviño of following other cheerleaders in his vehicle and intimidating them. Treviño has denied these allegations, referring to the accusations as “a bunch of lies” and that he doesn’t “have time” to follow cheerleaders.

As media coverage of the dispute intensified, school district officials tasked the special education law firm of Buechler and Associates to conduct an inquiry investigating the allegations of bullying and discrimination levied by Treviño and Hernandez.

In response to a public information request the San Benito News filed with SBCISD on Wednesday, Longoria announced the findings of the investigation via email in a statement prepared by district officials and Buechler and Associates.

“San Benito CISD takes pride in offering a variety of instructional and extracurricular opportunities for all students and as such, highly encourages student participation and student involvement in these activities,” the statement read. “Regarding the cheerleading concerns, the district took immediate measures in an effort to give all parties involved an opportunity to voice their individual concerns. All allegations of discrimination, bullying and harassment have been thoroughly investigated. All allegations regarding cheerleaders have been determined to be unsubstantiated.

“The administration and staff at San Benito CISD work diligently to ensure that the school environment continues to be safe, nurturing and academically focused on meeting the needs of all students in the district.”

Still, Duncan said the cheer squad’s reputation has been damaged as a result of the allegations and what she believes was biased coverage by other local media outlets.

“I am very glad that they showed we didn’t mean any harm to Alex,” Duncan said before criticizing Treviño and the aforementioned media coverage. “They turned it into a black eye for San Benito and made it very harmful to our girls; they’re being told, ‘Those are the bad cheerleaders,’ and whatnot.”

In contrast, Treviño was mum on the matter.

“I haven’t gotten a report back from nobody from school, so I couldn’t answer you even if I wanted to,” Treviño said.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of the Nov. 3 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

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    • Brian Powell on November 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm
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    I refuse to take sides on an issue that I know only what I read in the papers. Yes, the issue is emotional. But to have an individual label our community as, “clown town” is a slap in the face of all of who choose to call this community home. Many in our community are likely to show righteous indignation at others who–for reasons known only to then–make disparaging comments about our community. I am offended that all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making San Benito what it is today, with its numerous attractions, culture and good people, that all of this is just categorically brushed aside by this individual labeling our community using disparaging terms. Far more challenging-and far more rewarding- it is to build the community up, rather than tear it down. Become part if its future, not an irrelevant individual making snide remarks.

    • Juan on November 1, 2013 at 10:30 am
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    Guess this is why it’s known as “Clown Town”.

    • Denise on October 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm
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    This is absolutely ridiculous. People will find anything to sue nowadays! 11 were
    Excluded not just one. I mean educator and strongly feel that this was not and a case of discrimination. I also have been a cheerleader and often different photos were taken and not one member took it out of context. It happens people find any way to pull this.
    The girls now cannot enjoy their year and will be walking on eggshells ! Hope this gets straightened out .

      • Colleen Duncan on November 1, 2013 at 11:02 am
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      Thank you for your kind words I’m sure the girls will like this too. To many are saying mean and hateful thing on valley central .

  1. Absent minded people

    • Fernando on October 31, 2013 at 11:42 am
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    My daughter was in special ed in the SBCISD. I have nothing but good comments for them and their staff. My daughter attended special olympics and volunteers were needed. I will tell you that at that time, we had great volunteers, which I believe cheerleaders were involved. I know that they treated my daughter like their own. My daughter graduated several years ago, so it was a different group. The world does not owe my daughter anything, but I can say SBCISD did heck of a job for my daughter. If you’re a parent of a child with disabilities, don’t put them in a situation where you can’t handle what happens if things don’t go your way.

    • Amanda on October 31, 2013 at 10:29 am
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    I WONDER….. of course not when has the media ever gone back to get the real story when the truth comes out now had the outcome been different it would be all over the news over and over again ! I think these girls deserve an apology from everyone who bashed them including the MEDIA ACTION 4 NEWS !

    • I WONDER on October 31, 2013 at 8:29 am
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    I wonder if Action 4 News and/or the Valley Morning Star will look into the real problem, the reason why this story surfaced to begin with, which is the fact that Duncan filed a report against Miss Wooly Bully because of her actions towards Duncan. 1 leg, 2 legs, or even 3 legs, no discrimination or bullying here. The law is the law and if it was violated, consequences need to be handed out.

    • Mari on October 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm
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    Who knows the truth behind it all, but take it from a woman who has lived her entire life (33 years) with a “physical disability”…… you’ll be a much happier individual if you stop walking around thinking the world owes you something. Concentrate on your strengths and you’ll see that life is so much more enjoyable that way.

      • Colleen Duncan on October 30, 2013 at 7:31 pm
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      I have not been happier or more impressed with a comment, its not always easy but it really goes for everyone :concentriate on your strenghs” you seem like a wonderful person God bless you!

      • ATX on October 31, 2013 at 8:49 am
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      Great philosophy to live by.

    • Bruce Wayne on October 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm
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    Now she can be punished for putting her hands on a parent on school property. She should face up to it, since she wouldn’t like to be treated any differently than any other student who assaults someone.

    • Amanda on October 30, 2013 at 6:12 pm
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    Glad the truth came out lets see where they take the circus to next sorry Mr. Trevino but this shows what a clown you are wanting to be the center of attention well you got it NOW GET YOUR NIECE SOME HELP BECAUSE SHE IS A BULLY I HAVE SEEN IT WITH MY OWN EYES JUST LIKE HALF OF THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ! SHE SHOULD NOT USE HER DISABILITY FOR HER EVIL ACTS SHAME ON YOU FOR GOING ALONG WITH IT !!!!!!!

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