By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
This one’s a twist.
The San Benito High School varsity cheerleading controversy reached the courts on Friday when a judge signed a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by an attorney representing Noe Treviño and his niece Alexandria Hernandez, the 17-year-old disabled member of the cheer squad who accused fellow cheerleaders of bullying and discrimination.
Although officials with the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District did not confirm what was argued in the TRO nor did they identify the judge and court in which the injunction was heard, it was confirmed that Hernandez, who on Monday was kicked off the squad for allegedly violating the SBHS cheerleader constitution, cheered at Friday night’s San Benito Greyhounds vs. Weslaco Panthers game, as per the order.
It was the last varsity football game of the season for San Benito.
“I don’t think I have no comment to tell you guys,” Treviño said when asked for his thoughts on the new development. “Even if I wanted, it don’t matter to me. What you all did with her this last newspaper was pretty sorry, but that’s about it. That’s all I have to tell you.”
When pressed to clarify his statements, Treviño said, “You know, what came out in the paper. Whoever, even if it’s the school district or whatever, how they just smeared Alex, that she wasn’t gonna be a cheerleader tonight… well, they were mistaken. She’s out there. That’s all I have to say.”
“According to Tony Torres, our attorney, it (TRO) went through two judges that did not want to sign it,” SBHS Principal Henry Sanchez said Friday evening. “One judge at 4:30 p.m. or so listened to it and granted it, and so she will be cheering at tonight’s game.”
On Tuesday, SBCISD Community Relations Director Celia Longoria said high schools administrators found that Hernandez allegedly violated Section 9.2 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.”
The language cited refers to Hernandez’ arrest on Thursday, Oct. 31, when she booked at the San Benito Police Department for class “C” assault, a misdemeanor charge stemming from allegations that the accused accosted 52-year-old Colleen Duncan at a pep rally inside the SBHS gymnasium by grabbing Duncan’s T-shirt, yelling profanities and blaming the apparel for an illness.
Treviño has argued that the T-shirt, which displays a picture of 10 senior members of the cheer squad, is a form of bullying and discrimination because Hernandez, who has a prosthetic leg, was not included in the photo. As a result, Treviño has contended that his niece should not face any consequences for her actions when allegedly assaulting Duncan, who was wearing the T-shirt in question at the time of the incident.
Duncan and others associated with the cheer squad, many of whom have chosen to speak anonymously, vehemently denied Treviño’s accusations and defended the T-shirt as an innocuous show of unity between 10 longtime friends. As previously reported, the T-shirt was also a last resort for parents whose attempts to publish a full page advertisement in the SBHS football program as well as a scoreboard message—both of which were going to feature the picture in question—were thwarted by Treviño, whose requests for school officials to ban use of the picture were initially accommodated.
However, 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.”