Cheer team moved during basketball tournament due to safety concerns
The Berkeley Springs High School Cheerleading Team was moved from Motel 6 in Charleston for safety reasons on Wednesday evening March 14 during the state basketball championships.
Cheerleaders’ parents said alcohol had been visible in nearby rooms which open to the outside, and it appeared there was some partying going on, said School Superintendent David Banks.
They later learned that people in the motel had followed the girls to dinner, had taken photos of them and were making the girls feel uncomfortable and unsafe, Banks said.
They told their West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission representatives during the 5:30 p.m. game about their concerns for the girls’ safety, but the representatives made no plans to move them to another hotel.
The situation escalated after the girls returned to the motel after the game. Banks got a call from Berkeley Springs High School Athletic Director Chad Brinegar and Principal Lance Fox while he was driving home from the game.
They requested moving the girls to another hotel,The Hampton Inn, which was done around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night. The boys’ basketball team coaches didn’t indicate any safety concerns so they weren’t moved, Banks said.
The girls’ move had nothing to do with the closing of the motel a few months before, because a meth lab had operated there, which Banks was unaware of until he read a Friday, March 16 newspaper article.
The motel had rented out one of the rooms where the meth lab had been to Martinsburg basketball players. The players returned to the motel on Thursday at lunchtime to find it closed down and their clothing and electronics confiscated as a precaution, Banks said.
“If we had known what we knew Friday morning on Wednesday, we would’ve moved everyone,” Banks said.
No Berkeley Springs High School athletes or cheerleaders stayed in any of the rooms associated with the former meth lab and none of their belongings had to be confiscated, he said.
A random lottery drawing is done for the choice of motel rooms during the championships, he said. Berkeley Springs High School drew 15 out of 16. The Berkeley Springs and Martinsburg teams were placed in Motel 6.
Banks said he was very disappointed that Motel 6 was used to house athletes and cheerleaders during the games.
“We rely on the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission to have kids in safe motels during tournaments,” Banks said.
The Berkeley Springs boys’ basketball team left for home from Motel 6 in Charleston last Thursday morning around 9 a.m. The cheerleaders also returned home from the Hampton Inn on Thursday morning.