By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Another chapter in the saga of the San Benito High School varsity cheerleading controversy was written on Monday when Alexandria Hernandez, the disabled 17-year-old senior cheerleader who accused her teammates of bullying and discrimination, was kicked off the squad for allegedly violating the cheer constitution.
In response to a request for confirmation verifying Hernandez’ ousting, Celia Longoria, Community Relations Director for the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District, issued a statement Tuesday citing Section 9.2 of the 2013-14 San Benito High School Cheerleader Constitution.
Longoria said SBHS administrators found that Hernandez allegedly violated the aforementioned subsection of the constitution, which reads that “Immediate Dismissal” occurs when: “A member engaged in a conduct resulting in arrest from law enforcement officers; and verbal or physical confrontation with the sponsor, a member, student, staff or parent and the use of foul or profane language, threats, or any indecent gestures.”
Hernandez, whose dismissal as an SBHS varsity cheerleader was effective Nov. 4, was arrested Thursday, Oct. 31, and booked at the San Benito Police Department for class “C” assault, a misdemeanor. The charge stems from an Oct. 11 incident in which Hernandez is accused of accosting Colleen Duncan, a 52-year-old parent of another varsity cheerleader, by grabbing the cheer mom’s T-shirt at a pep rally held inside the SBHS gymnasium and, while allegedly yelling profanities, blamed Duncan’s apparel for Hernandez’ alleged cancer.
Noe Treviño, who has identified himself as Hernandez’ uncle and advocate, previously argued that his niece should not face any consequences for her actions, believing she was provoked by the T-shirt Duncan was wearing at the time of the incident.
The T-shirt in question displayed a photograph of 10 senior varsity cheerleaders, of whom Hernandez and Treviño have accused of bullying and discrimination for excluding Hernandez, who has a prosthetic leg, from the picture.
Duncan, however, has contended that Hernandez’ exclusion was not done maliciously and further avowed that the purpose of the T-shirt—a last resort for parents who attempted to publish a full page advertisement in the SBHS football program as well as a scoreboard message to no avail as school district officials thwarted such efforts at Treviño’s behest—was a show of unity and support for 10 longtime friends.
On Wednesday, Oct. 31, SBCISD Special Education attorneys Buechler and Associates, an Austin-based law firm, dismissed the allegations of bullying and discrimination made by Hernandez and Treviño as “unsubstantiated.”
In exclusive interviews with the San Benito News on Thursday and Friday, SBCISD Interim Superintendent Alfonso Obregón said that there was “no foundation” regarding the accusations against the district and varsity cheer squad. “The school district did not discriminate against the student, and the school district did not violate any student rights or civil rights,” Obregón said. “There was actually no bullying going on that the student (Hernandez) may be addressing.”
Concerning Hernandez, Obregón further remarked, “It (alleged assault) was not related to her handicap condition; that was done by her knowingly and willingly. She took these aggressive steps to do these things at the pep rally, and that has just come about.”
Attempts to reach Treviño for comment have been unsuccessful as of presstime Tuesday.