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Nov 10, 2011 8:50 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP

Cutting, restoring dance team members causes flap

HOUMA, La. (AP) - When the coach of the Ellender Memorial High School dance team in Terrebonne Parish cut five members before an October performance, a parent complained. Terrebonne schools superintendent Philip Martin reinstated the cut dancers.

That led to more complaints.

The Houma Courier reports (http://bit.ly/sgk4GU) that before each football game, Ellender dance team coach Ranesha Ellis screens the team's performance. Any dancer who can't perform to her satisfaction is "cut" from the upcoming halftime performance. Before the Oct. 28 game, Ellis cut five members. Three others were out with injuries, leaving six to perform.

Connie Cehan, the mother of one cut student, complained.

"I didn't feel that if all the girls were showing up for practices and doing their best that they should be cut," Cehan said. "If they have been chosen to make a team, why should they not be able to perform?"

Martin's decision to reinstate the dancers led to more complaints from parents who didn't like him overriding the coach.

"My daughter's been cut, and you know what? It taught her to work hard. It made her a better dancer," Michelle Adams, mother of another dancer, said.

Some parents said the reinstatement came because one student is the daughter of a school system employee. Martin said the decision had nothing to do with Cehan's position at the board. He said the situation was presented to him by an upper administrator, who didn't name any parents.

"This is a situational decision that I made as superintendent," Martin said. "It was the number that caught my eye. When I saw that eight out of 14 students weren't going to be participating in their last game, I didn't think that was right."

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