Editor's note: Calls to DHS Cheer Coach Robin Chavez were not returned.
While several members of Dixon High’s varsity and junior varsity football squads were , Dixon High cheerleaders and their parents had complaints of their own.
Several cheerleaders took to the podium during the regular meeting of the last night to voice their concerns about the cheer program and specifically, the coaching style of Cheer Coach Robin Chavez.
“The coach, she is … she was very rude and she didn’t want anything to do with us,” said Megan Hannon, 15, a sophomore at Dixon High School. “She just completely ignored us.”
Hannon and her fellow cheerleaders complained that Chavez’ cheer squad is disorganized and that she doesn't motivate them.
A common complaint aired last night was that Chavez would openly say that she “couldn’t wait to get rid” of the cheerleaders, many of them said.
Dixon High Athletic Director Tom Crumpacker said the decision to retain Coach Chavez was made by Principal John Barsotti and that he stands by Barsotti's decision.
"With regard to cheer I have had some students come to me and say they would like to see a person from the outside as a coach, but we will hear that every year about every sport," Crumpacker said. "Not everybody is going to be satisfied and in some people's cases they might become disgruntled. But are they the whole? And the answer is no ... and you need to look at that. Where are the other people?"
The cheerleaders were largely in favor of hiring their former cheer coaches, Korie Robinson and Courtney Hennigan. Most of the girls on DHS’ cheer squad came to know the Dixon duo in youth cheer, according to Hennigan and Robinson.
Hennigan and Robinson had their own concerns about DHS’ cheer program.
“The lack of safety and organization,” Robinson said, when asked about her concerns. “At this level, they see more variety, there’s not a lot of variety (in the routines).”
Crumpacker responded to the safety concerns.
"I was in the gym probably at least five of their practices," he said. "They had the safety pads underneath them. She was really stopping them, step-by-step going through the safety procedures on how to do tosses and catches and so forth. Robin has extensive experience. She was at Will C. Wood for over a decade and she also brought some of her previous cheerleaders to instruct. With regards to safety precautions, I know nothing about that. Everything I saw was taught properly."
Robinson and Hennigan did not speak during the public comments portion of the school board meeting, but outside of the meeting they took the time to talk with DHS Principal John Barsotti who listened to their concerns and those of parents and cheerleaders.
“It’s good to get people’s perspectives,” Barsotti said
Barsotti vowed to meet with them throughout the week and listen to their concerns, to try and find a solution that’s fair to everyone.
Hennigan said that her and Robinson have known most of the girls on DHS’ cheer team since they were seven years old during youth cheer.
“It’s a labor of love,” Henningan said, explaining why they would like to coach cheer for DHS.
Robinson told Barsotti that safety is a primary concern. She told him that the current coach, Chavez, doesn’t teach them appropriate techniques that are important in keeping the girls safe. But Crumpacker refutes the claim and said he has seen Coach Chavez take the appropriate safety precautions.
Crumpacker said Chavez has brought many positives to the cheer program and not everyone is disgruntled. For example, radio station KFBK out of Sacramento recognized the coach for run at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery and distributing the wreaths back in December.
The public comments made during the meeting last night were made in conjunction with comments made in support of DHS JV Coach Troy Hensley and critical of Varsity Coach Wes Besseghini.
The school board did not engage in dialogue with any of the public speakers because the topic was not an agenda-based item.
"I was pleased with Coach Chavez," Crumpacker said. "I felt that she soundly came into the program and like any other coach they are learning the steps."
Check out what the cheerleaders and some parents told the school board in the attached video.