Decision reached on cheerleader’s restraining order against Fresno Unified trustee

A Fresno County court commissioner has denied a Bullard High cheerleader’s request for a temporary restraining order against Fresno Unified Trustee Terry Slatic.

The cheerleader and her mother were seeking protection against Slatic over a meeting the board member had with the cheer squad at the Bullard High campus July 10.

They accused Slatic of threatening the cheer program and harassing the students because of an accusation of bullying by some of the cheerleaders.

The student testified on Oct. 7 that Slatic was condescending, rude and intimidating. She also said she felt unsafe. “I feel like the staff at my school won’t protect me,” she said during the Oct. 7 hearing.

But Fresno County Superior Court Commissioner Noel Pebet on Friday determined the student and her attorney Aida Macedo failed to prove Slatic, a retired Marine, physically harmed her, threatened violence or harassed her.

“There has been a lot of testimony centered around the interaction of Mr. Slatic and the Bullard High School cheerleaders,” Pebet said. “I am not here to decide if he should have been there, but to decide if it rose to the level of harassment.”

Slatic testified Friday his intent in meeting with the cheerleaders was not to dismantle their program or in some way punish them — but to try and save the program. Slatic said he was concerned district officials may put the cheerleading program on hiatus after two teammates posted a blackface video online.

The incident sparked tension among the team’s members, including allegations of bullying against the two girls accused of creating the video. Slatic told the cheerleaders in July the situation had been “adjudicated” and to stop picking on the two girls.

Slatic testified he did not try and intimidate or threaten anyone during the meeting. His attorney Michael Goldfeder asked him if he was rude, threatening, or in any way agitated. Slatic said he was none of those things.

Macedo asked him if he saw several cheerleaders crying after the meeting because he had allegedly frightened and intimidated them. “I never saw anything like that,” Slatic testified.

Leah Alvarado, Bullard High School pep and cheer director, said she was shocked with how Slatic talked to the students. “I had never seen anything like that before,” she testified Friday. “It was very upsetting.”

Alvarado said she was so shook by the incident, she felt unsafe and later called Fresno police. “It was very unnerving,” she testified. “I wasn’t sure what he was going to do.”

A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering various topics including education, business and agriculture. He currently covers courts.