The parents of some cheerleaders at Bullard High School in Fresno are angry and they say a Fresno Unified board member Terry Slatic intimidated their daughters.
It stems from an incident last month when one member of the squad made a post to social media while in blackface. The post went viral and triggered anger in the community.
The girls involved are still on the cheer team but Slatic says they’re being left out of team events. Slatic says he went to Bullard to try to make peace, but some parents say he made trouble instead. Slatic says that since the blackface incident there’s been friction between members of Bullards cheerleading team. He says the two girls involved are being left out of team events and not getting emails.
“The emails to be this place at this time… and this meeting… so somehow that fell through the cracks and they were somehow considered off the team and that was not part of any punishment,” says Slatic.
Slatic went to Bullard Wednesday before cheer practice to talk to the team.
“I did not come barging in. I was introduced. Whether they knew I was coming or not, that’s not on me that’s on the superintendent,” says Slatic.
Slatic says he’s a former cheer-dad himself. He says he pointed that out to Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson and offered to intervene. Slatic says Nelson agreed, but some parents say his demeanor left their daughters in tears.
“I sensed none of that, none of them got up and ran out of the room crying in my 4-5 minute talk,” says Slatic.
Terance Frazier has a daughter on the cheer team.
“I’m infuriated… and found it unacceptable that Slatic showed up to intimidate and get them to be quiet about how they feel having girls on their team that engaged in an inappropriate and racist and very offensive activity about African Americans,” said Frazier.
“He’s a grown man, to come into a meeting with young girls and cheerleaders and yell and berate them, I mean pick on someone your own size,” says Social Equity Advocate Stacy Williams.
Concerned parents and students reached out to Williams after the blackface incident. She says the district did not encourage Slatic to address the team.
“The district doesn’t want to work with the community and bridge the gap and make a further change, they want to handle it the way they’ve been handling it and obviously that’s not working for them,” said Willaims.
Williams says her team is looking into the procedure to recall Slatic from the school board. Another parent said they may take legal action against the school board.
Fresno Unified School District released the following statement:
“Fresno Unified School District is aware of the concerns among the parents of the cheerleading squad at Bullard High School regarding recent actions of Board member Terry Slatic. Superintendent Bob Nelson held a meeting with these parents to provide a forum for open dialogue and discuss how best to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their students. We are creating an action plan that will be shared with the parents for their input. The District will continue working toward a solution that meets the needs of our students and parents. Beforehand we appreciate the availability of parents to be open to dialogue.”