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Lionettes, colleagues react to Ortiz’s exit

By Justin Tubbs

When Ennisites think of drill team, they think of the Lionettes. For close to six years, colleagues and students agreed Cassie Ortiz, the former drill team instructor, was the heart of the  regionally-known, award-winning group of performers.

When people in the niche drill team community heard Cassie Ortiz would not return as the Lionettes’ coach, some were shocked, some were happy she was able to reach a settlement with Ennis Independent School District, but the majority were saddened she would no longer be part of the program.

“I don’t live in Ennis anymore. One of the Lionettes told me Ortiz wasn’t coaching anymore, and then I heard recently she wouldn’t be returning,” said Kameron Mendes, a four-year Lionette who graduated in 2015. “I was shocked because honestly, she had an impact on all her students. I didn’t know everything that was going on with the lawsuit until just recently.”

Mendes said one of her friends on the Lionettes told her how many of the students took it hard when they learned of Ortiz’s October 2015 dismissal from the program.

“She said some of the girls were crying when they found out Cassie wouldn’t be coming back, and she just said they weren’t really allowed to talk about it.”

Other students had some of the same things to say about the lawsuit with Ortiz – they were surprised and didn’t fully understand.

The lawsuit, which was settled in mediation Monday, alleged Ortiz was told to leave the program in October 2015 due to a knee injury. She wasn’t allowed to return, and the school replaced her soon after, according to the lawsuit. Ortiz also sued for more than $30,000 in overtime pay she says the school refused to pay her.

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Posted by on Jun 23 2016. Filed under City news, News, School news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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