Judge orders Slatic and Bullard cheerleader to stay away from each other – for now

Watch Bullard cheerleaders testify against FUSD Terry Slatic

Watch and listen as two Bullard varsity cheerleaders testify against FUSD member Terry Slatic Thursday night.
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Watch and listen as two Bullard varsity cheerleaders testify against FUSD member Terry Slatic Thursday night.

A judge this week ordered a Fresno Unified Trustee and a Bullard cheerleader to stay 20 yards away from each other until an October hearing when a judge will determine whether to grant a restraining order.

The teen, who The Bee is not naming since she’s a minor, filed a petition last month for a restraining order against Trustee Terry Slatic. The court hearing is the latest incident involving Slatic and a Bullard High School cheerleader.

The dispute sparked earlier this summer when some of her teammates posted blackface videos online and then boiled over when Slatic showed up at a cheer practice to defend the girls who posted the video because, he said, the girls were victims of bullying.

Slatic’s actions triggered the school board to call a special meeting where cheerleaders and their parents criticized his behavior.

Slactic initially intended to represent himself and filed several documents in his defense. But during Monday’s hearing Slatic changed his mind and asked the judge to postpone the case until he could hire a lawyer.

Aida Macedo, an experienced attorney, is representing the teenager for free.

Court hearing

Slatic said he’s glad that the judge ordered him and the teen to stay 20 yards away from each other since they’ve never been formally introduced and he’s not sure exactly who she is.

“I think it’s outstanding that the young lady has to stay 20 yards away from me because I don’t know what she looks like,” he said. “…I couldn’t pick her out in a line up.”

Although Macedo said she and her client were happy for some temporary relief, Macedo was disappointed the girl and her family will have to return to court.

“Obviously my client and her family wanted it to be done today,” Macedo said. “Nobody wants to be in court, especially in a matter like this. As you can imagine, it’s very intimidating for a minor to testify, especially in front of an adult like that.”

Both sides want the matter resolved at the next hearing on Oct. 7.

But, they want different outcomes.

“My client and her family want a permanent restraining order or something more long term to help ease the fear and anxiety and potential for further harassment or interaction with him (Slatic),” Macedo said.

But Slatic called the teen’s petition for a restraining order a distraction from what he called the “hate speech” directed at the two cheerleaders involved in the blackface incident.

“I completely expect this farce will be dismissed and be a sad part of the history of hate speech. That’s what all this is,” he said. “This is simply a response from the crowd that’s trying to destroy these two little girls.”

In his defense, Slatic submitted a letter from one of the girls involved in the blackface incident thanking him for addressing the students at the cheer practice.

“I am nothing but grateful and appreciative for Mr. Slatic taking time out of his day to come and squash an issue,” she wrote.

Slatic also submitted a letter from her parents, who said the incident at the cheer practice was “taken so far out of proportion it is sickening.”

Another document submitted by Slatic is an email from Fresno Unified Bob Nelson to trustees about his role in what transpired regarding Slatic’s talk with cheerleaders.

In the email, Nelson describes a conversation with Slatic about meeting with the cheer team to discuss bullying of the girls involved in the blackface incident.

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.