By Mina Williams Enterprise editor
MILL CREEK — Two separate accidents sent Jackson High School cheerleaders to hospital emergency rooms in the closing days of the school’s basketball season.
On Feb. 26 two vehicles, driven by cheerleaders were involved in a four-car accident on I-5. Two girls were taken to hospitals for treatment.
“Members of the cheer squad drove themselves because they wanted to go out to dinner after the game,” said Mary Waggoner, spokesperson for the Everett School District. Written releases, signed by parents, were required, she said.
This accident followed another when a “stunting” lift failed at a championship game Feb. 24, sending two girls to hospitals.
One cheerleader was involved in both incidents.
None of the injuries necessitated an overnight stay at the hospital.
“Cheerleading is dangerous,” Waggoner said. Because of that danger the district, through the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, requires stunt training for advisors. Kim Hylton, cheer advisor at Jackson, has been certified, according to Lawrence Fitts, Jackson’s assistant principal and athletic coordinator.
“It is unfortunate, accidents do happen,” Fitts said. “I understand that the girls felt rushed (in performing) during a timeout. We have put plans in place that (the advisor), not the (team) captain, will decide when and under what circumstances a stunt will be done.”
Parents of the cheerleaders have charged that Hylton has arrived late or not at all for squad activities.
“We expect that (Hylton) is there at all practices and events,” Fitts said. “There may have been an oversight in materials that went home. The schedule needs more detail and there could be improvement in communications between the parents and the advisor.”
“It is unfortunate the two accidents happened so close together,” he added. “The incidents were not related and the district policies and procedures in place were followed.”