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Board asks for revised cheerleading policy

By By MICHELE GERLACH-Publisher
The Escambia County Board of Education took no action on a proposed cheerleading policy that would limit the gymnastic activities of cheerleaders in the county and asked the committee that proposed the policy to revisit it before the next board meeting.
The board asked for the policy to be reconsidered after Teresa Hultz, president of the Escambia County Teachers Association, questioned it.
Mrs. Hultz said when she asked why cartwheels weren't allowed, she was told the decision was related to safety and insurance concerns.
She said it didn't make sense to her that the system's insurance would "cover boys to play football," but not cartwheels.
Assistant superintendent Gwen Walton, who facilitated the committee meeting on the policy, said most of the rules were adopted 11years ago after a student at Escambia County High School was seriously injured while cheering.
The committee that drafted the proposed policy included the principal and a representative of each high school and middle school in the system, assistant superintendent Gwen Walton said, adding that most of the county's cheerleading sponsors participating in the meeting.
The proposed policy also states that a cheerleader may be dismissed from the squad for smoking or using any type of drugs or alcohol; unbecoming conduct; non-cooperation; or failing to meet financial obligations.
The cheerleading committee is expected to consider Mrs. Hultz's requests before the next board meeting, set for August 11.
When the board considers the policy, it will have to be on the table for 30 days before it can be approved.