Samson Cheerleader Controversy

By: Mike Gurspan Email
By: Mike Gurspan Email

Emotions ran high about a cheerleader controversy in Western Geneva County.

On two separate occasions in recent weeks, several children in Samson have been told they've made the squad. Then, they were told by school officials they were not on the team.

The Geneva County School Board has voted not to allow the girls in question to be part of the team.

There are a number of angry parents and grandparents in Samson and several feel this entire matter could have easily been avoided.

At the Geneva County School Board meeting, Board Member Marcia Hatcher took exception with a decision by Superintendent David Snell. Snell allowed a one-year exception to allow several girls to remain on both the Samson J.V. and varsity cheerleader squads.

Initially, the girls were told they could be on the squad and then were told no.

"That was a great mis-service to the children, but policy is what it is until it is changed," Hatcher said.

By a three-to-two vote, the board passed Hatcher's motion to follow board policy on the number of cheerleaders allowed on the squad. That means that Coribeth Reynolds will not be on the team next year, which has been an emotional rollercoaster.

Reynolds says the incident is, "Not really embarrassing for the whole school; [they] think you are a cheerleader, and next they tell you that you are not. It’s like you are telling a lie, but you are not"

Roy Rodgers, a concerned grandparent says, "We go through life and tell our children to do the right thing and they stand in front of the school board and get this treatment."

Hatcher had few words for News 4 following the board meeting. "I thought you attend the meeting when I did discuss board policy, but, how about the policy Mr. Gurspan? You have a good evening."

The parents that News 4 spoke to say putting their children through the process of learning they made the team and then not make the team on two separate occasions, has been very tough.

News 4 will continue to follow this story and let you know if any legal action is filed against the Geneva County school district concerning the cheerleader issue.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mary Location: Houston County on May 30, 2007 at 07:36 PM
    Its not fair to the other Geneva County squads that Samson can have 14 cheerleaders but yet other squads had to cut cheerleading candidates.
  • by Parent Location: Geneva County on May 22, 2007 at 02:29 PM
    Thank you, board members. Thank you for taking a stand to uphold policy. It is a shame that rules were not followed in previous years. I applaud Mrs. Hatcher for standing up to what is right. Yes, I feel bad for the girls, but their sponsors put them in that position, NOT THE BOARD! Now, go worry about academics.
  • by Linda Location: east Geneva Co on May 9, 2007 at 09:42 AM
    Ms Hatcher always has to have things her way and apply rules to suit her. Its well
  • by Anonymous Location: SAMSON on May 9, 2007 at 07:49 AM
  • by Pookie Location: Hartford on May 8, 2007 at 08:18 PM
    Speaking of Mr. Trawick from Slocomb... No teacher's spouce should be elected to a school board. By law, they can run for election, but they should not be elected. For one, their first loyalty isn't to your child or to education. For another, it is a "conflict of interest" for a teacher's spouce to vote on teacher salaries and benefits and working conditions.
  • by Candice Location: Tuscaloosa on May 8, 2007 at 03:15 PM
    If the Geneva County School Board wants to teach children a lesson by strictly following the rules without regard to higher functions of life, such as compassion, then perhaps they will take into account the laws that form the foundation of our country. All people have inherent rights as human beings. Even these young girls have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can they pursue happiness if they are not allowed to do what they love? As cheerleaders, they love cheerleading. If they did not love it, they would not work as hard as they do and put up with all the nit-picky rules that infringe upon their sport. Now the rules have gone too far and are making a mockery of cheerleading. Freedom of speech is also being called into question. The school board has threatened to eliminate cheerleading altogether if the parents of the affected cheerleaders pursue the issue any further. These people led by Marcia Hatcher obviously have no concern for the happiness of these girls; perhaps now even their parents' rights are not substantial enough to be considered. Are we now to understand that if our opinions don't comply with those of Marcia Hatcher that we are not to express them? Unless I'm mistaken, in America it is not legal or ethical to silence people with threats.
  • by teacher Location: Slocomb on May 8, 2007 at 03:06 PM
    I agree that this situation is ridiculous. The girls were told they made cheerleader, so let it be. There are more pressing issues in our county schools than how many girls are allowed on a cheerleading squad. Mrs. Hatcher, Mr. Trawick, and Mr. Register, when was the last time you visited our schools showing concern about how many students are in a classroom? One would think board members would be more concerned with our children's education than how many cheerleaders can be on a squad.
  • by Ann Location: Geneva County on May 8, 2007 at 10:10 AM
    And the nerve of "Miss Board Member" Marcia Hatcher to ask the cheerleader sponsor at Hartford about how to acquire varsity captain and that they should change it because HER daughter is an upcoming varsity cheerleader. 2-bits 4-bits 6-bits a dollar. all for marcia stand up and hollar! and nobody stands up...go figure!
  • by Parent Location: Samson on May 8, 2007 at 06:41 AM
    I have had enough! This is ridiculous! Marcia I think you were put in Geneva County to make life miserable for Samson! What is the big deal! I hope that you sleep well at night, because I know that these girls nor there mothers have been lately. This shouldn't be such a fiasco, but you make it one. You are allowed to say, do, and treat anyone the way you want to and no one is allowed to retaliate in any like manner. I just don't understand where the justice is in this situation. You are allowed to speak to Mr. Gurspan in a rude manner and he is not allowed to respond. You, Ms. Hatcher are never happy, You thrive on making other people especially our children unhappy. Please stop this. Please try to see "our side" for a change. What is it? Are you jealous because more girls want to be cheerleaders or can be cheerleaders or are good enough to be cheeerleaders? Explain this to us, we all want to know!
  • by Parent of a Samson JV Cheerleader Location: Samson, AL on May 8, 2007 at 06:11 AM
    Our school board members from the Samson District voted to keep the girls on the squad. Mr. Register and Ms. Hatcher which are 2 board members from the other districts voted to remove the girls from the squad and Mr. Trawick placed the tie breaking vote to remove the girls. I don't understand how Ms. Hatcher having a daughter as a cheerleader would not have removed herself from this issue because of the possibility of a conflict of interest. The girls that have been left on the squad want all 14 and 13 cheerleaders back on the squad. They are not at fault. These girls have the support of the Samson school admininstration, faculty, staff and student body. Ms. Hatcher let our board members represent us and you represent your school system that voted you in. Everyone that I have talked to from Enterprise, Elba, Kinston, Opp, Defuniak Springs, Dothan feel like the girls are the ones who are having to suffer because of just one person, Ms. Marcia Hatcher.
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