Saginaw High cheerleaders punished over urine-tainted drinks

Posted Thursday, Apr. 08, 2010  comments  Print Reprints

Crossing the line

In 2006, a senior theater student at L.D. Bell High School was arrested after being accused of spiking a rival student's drink with bleach. The student, who was placed in an alternative school, was later convicted of attempted assault with bodily injury and sentenced to 180 days in jail and two years' probation, which she completed in 2009.

In 2005, during a camp, four Keller High School varsity cheerleaders put human feces on a pizza, then returned it to Fossil Ridge High School cheerleaders, saying Fossil Ridge had actually committed the deed. The four Keller cheerleaders were sent home, but school district officials declined to say what other punishment was given, citing federal privacy laws.

In 2002, several Richland High School varsity baseball players were removed from the team after police cited them for disorderly conduct. The boys were accused of putting human feces on dollar bills, then laying the bills on the ground outside a North Richland Hills store and watching the reactions of people who picked them up.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

A handful of Saginaw High School cheerleaders have been disciplined for giving teammates sodas mixed with urine.

District officials said at least two girls got in-school suspensions and others lesser punishments, but they would not specify how many students were involved. The girls will not be allowed to participate in cheerleading events through the end of the school year but will be allowed to participate next school year.

A parent whose daughter drank the urine-tainted beverage said those involved should be permanently removed from the team.

"They shouldn't be allowed to represent Saginaw," said the father, who did not want to be identified to protect his daughter's identity.

District spokeswoman Kristin Courtney said Principal Ric Canterbury followed district policy and the school's cheerleading constitution in deciding punishment.

The incident occurred during a basketball game last winter, the parent said. He said at least one cheerleader urinated into a cup and then mixed the urine into drinks bought at a nearby restaurant. Other cheerleaders encouraged her to give the tainted drinks to teammates at the game, the parent said.

When the girls drinking the sodas noticed an unusual taste, they were told that it was from a tart candy mixed into the drink, he said.

"The girls said they were just joking around," the father said. "It's not a good joke to me."

In March, the cheerleaders told others what they had done, according to the parent. Courtney said campus officials heard rumors and began investigating.

Cheerleading sponsor Lea Cochrane declined to comment, referring questions to Courtney, who would not say whether it involved the varsity or junior varsity squad.

The cheerleading constitution states that team members could be removed if they are expelled, placed at the Alternative Discipline Center, assigned to in-school suspension more than once or suspended more than once. The district's student code of conduct allows administrators to take into account a student's discipline history and other factors when deciding punishment.

"Discipline will be correlated to the seriousness of the offense, the student's age and grade level, the frequency of misbehavior, the student's attitude, the effect of the misconduct on the school environment, and statutory requirements," the code reads.

The code also states that students who engage in conduct that would be punishable as a felony must be assigned to the district's Disciplinary Alternative Education Program. The father questioned whether the girls' actions could be seen as tampering with a consumer product, a felony.

He said his family is not pursuing criminal charges.

"She's already been a victim once. If I go and push [charges], that would make her a victim twice" by having singled her out, he said.

EVA-MARIE AYALA, 817-390-7700

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?