VALDOSTA – The Georgia High School Association has fined Lowndes High School for a “lack of direct supervision” of the school’s cheerleading squads by a certified professional.
The GHSA investigated the LHS junior varsity football and basketball squads after a complaint was filed by Ronda Scott, a parent of an LHS cheerleader.
GHSA rules require community coaches to be directly supervised by a professional educator.
A GHSA letter Scott supplied to Valdosta Today indicates school officials admitted to a lack of direct supervision in a written response to the complaint.
As a result, GHSA levied the following penalties against the school:
In accordance with the GHSA “Structure for Fines” and by the authority of the Georgia High School Association Executive Director, Lowndes High School is being fined $250.00 for violating GHSA By-Law 2.26 (lack of institutional control) and $250.00 for violating GHSA By-law 2.27 (failure to follow procedure); a total fine of $500.00.
The Cheerleading program at Lowndes High School is being placed on “Severe Warning Status” the entire 2016-2017 school year. This status means that any future violation during this time period could result in more severe penalties.
Understand that these penalties cover the violations that have been discovered at this point in time. Any future discovery of violations could result in additional penalties.
LeAnne McCall, LHS Principal, said the school has “addressed the matter from a personnel standpoint” and will be “compliant with the rules moving forward.”
“At the time, we had a JV cheerleading coach who was an employee of Lowndes High School but was not a certified teacher. She had completed all the GHSA coaches education programs and the GHSA rules clinic, but she was not a certified teacher,” McCall said. “We corresponded with GHSA when they sent us the letter, and there were times in which our varsity coach wasn’t present at all of the JV events.”
McCall said a school administrator is present at all school sporting events in a supervisory role.
“To my knowledge, there was not an incident or a concern from this. At no time was a student in any danger or was there anything improper occurring. We just didn’t have adequate supervision. We weren’t compliant with the GHSA rules regarding supervision.”
The GHSA complaint was filed at the same time Scott filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education which alleged school officials discriminated against black students in selecting students for the school’s varsity and junior varsity cheerleading squads.
The Office of Civil Rights is currently investigating the complaint, and the results are pending.