Cheerleader parents suing Selma High School

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 17, 2002

A Selma attorney says two former cheerleaders were denied the right to a future from the sport when they were dismissed from the Selma High School squad. Now, the attorney thinks his clients deserve a punitive reward.

Attorney George Jones III plans to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit in district court today regarding the cheerleaders’ dismissal because the girls were “arbitrarily and without just cause kicked off the Selma High cheerleading squad…. based on improper personal motives.”

Jones and the parents of the two students are scheduled to hold a press conference today at 1:30 p.m. on the steps of Selma High School to announce filing the lawsuit.

Neither Selma High School principal Eli Welch nor Selma City School superintendent Dr. James Carter could be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

According to Jones, the two students were selected by the

cheerleaders’ new sponsor to be cheerleaders and paid their money for uniforms and for activity fees, and practiced with the squad for a full week. He said Welch then walked into cheerleading practice on June 12 and “ejected and embarrassed” the girls in front of their peers.

The principal then took the girls to his office and summoned the police to the school to “coerce and intimidate” the girls and their parents to leave the campus and to stop inquiring about the reasons for his actions.

Jones said the law suit alleges multiple violations of the girls’ legal rights and constitutional right to due process of the law. It also alleges negligence on the supervisor’s behalf, (Dr. Carter) who Jones said should have trained Welch and let him know about the children’s constitutional rights.

“The law suit claims that once these girls became cheerleaders, they acquired a property interest in the school — they have a nature of entitlement. Cheerleading could be a real boost to the girls’ future and admission to a major college. And before they can arbitrarily remove the girls off the squad, Welch should have given them notice and reason for their dismissal and a chance to have a hearing on the matter,” he said.

Jones said the girls continued to go to cheerleading practice several days after the June 12 incident, but have since stopped going to practice.