Written by: Boot Bullwinkle and Rachel Lew
Cheer team coaches Dan Callanta and Andy Logan are no longer district employees following an incident at the cheer team’s national competition sponsored by the United Spirit Association (USA) in Southern California held from Mar. 15 to Mar. 17.
During the course of the weekend, Callanta and Logan found cheer team members violating the school’s zero-tolerance alcohol policy during a field trip for a competition. But according to cheer team members, the coaches did not follow proper protocol at that time. According to the Student Behavior Expectations form, which is required for all district field trips and is signed by students and chaperones, possession or use of alcohol should result in the immediate return home of the student, accompanied by a chaperone via public transportation.
According to Callanta, the cheer coaches did not report the incident immediately because they did not want the rest of the team to be impacted. “I’m very passionate about the program, and I didn’t feel like the fact that [some] cheerleaders were drinking should affect the rest of the program,” he said. “We spent a lot of money, time and effort, so I waited to contact [the administration] until the day after we got back.”
The cheer team members were allowed to stay on their field trip, compete in the finals of their competition, and ended up placing third. According to one of the cheer team members, as initial punishment Callanta told them not to leave their rooms or go to Disneyland.
Although the incident happened during the weekend, Assistant Principal Trinity Klein did not hear of the issue until Tuesday, Mar. 19. A week and a half after the initial incident, Klein held a meeting with all members of the cheer team. “The purpose of the meeting was to inform the team that we are in the process of finding replacements for the coaches, and that the coaches were no longer district employees,” Klein said.
Students who the administration determined had violated the policy were suspended for two school days. In addition, Dean of Students James Lubbe supervised the dance team members during their USA Nationals competition on Mar. 29 and Mar. 30 in Callanta’s and Logan’s place.
According to a member of the dance team, Callanta had indicated his dismissal from the job in a Facebook post to the private cheer team group the night before the announcement was officially made by Klein.
Some cheer team members feel the coaches’ dismissals were appropriate. “I think it was right for them to be dismissed, because they did just as much wrong as the other members of the cheer team,” an anonymous cheer team member said. “I’m glad that it wasn’t as one-sided and that both [students and coaches] were punished equally.”