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Parent in Estero cheer coach scandal speaks out

Parent in Estero cheer coach scandal speaks out

By Matt Grant. CREATED Dec 5, 2011

ESTERO, Fla - A mother with legitimate concerns or an "out-of-control" cheerleading mom?

The passionate parent at odds with her daughter's former Estero High School cheerleading coach spoke with Fox 4 at length by phone but declined to go on camera.

Over a three month period, Sue Jacobse went on a one-person crusade to critcize her daughter's cheer coach Nicole Zivich to the Lee County School District. But two weeks ago, she went before the school board sounding surprised Zivich had been canned.

"This is wrong the way it happened," said Jacobse. "I'm not normally speechless but I am absolutely speechless. It's unconscionable."

Jacobse sent emails to the district criticizing Zivich and making demeaning comments about her part-time Hooter's job.

But Jacobse tells Fox 4 her concerns have "nothing" to do with Hooters.

She points to one email she wrote the district complaining about the difficulty level of stunts performed on hardwood floors without mats.

"As a parent I have legitimate concerns with what they are doing," wrote Jacobse, "and whether any of these girls, let alone the coaches, have the level of expertise to be doing these stunts."

"She doesn't even know what a competitive level stunt is," countered Zivich. "We do stunting that 8-year old's do."

In another email, Jacobse said her daughter received a "minor concussion" during a fall, which she later clarified by phone telling us it was serious enough to require a trip to the hospital.

Zivich says the girl fell on her back, got up, and told staff she was fine.

Jacobse also complained about a cheerleading car wash fundraiser at Corkscrew and 41, a busy Estero intersection and construction zone. She was angry some girls wore bikini tops and "short shorts," which she called "demeaning" and told the district that some girls felt "creeped out."

"Bathing suit tops were optional, it was not mandatory" countered Zivich, who said the girls wore regular shorts during the August fundraiser. "They were washing cars."

Jacobse also tells Fox 4 she was upset Zivich encouraged the district to buy thousands of dollars worth of new uniforms and didn't like that parents had to pay nearly $200 for practice uniforms.

Ultimately, Jacobse says it's her daughter who is paying the price - facing online retaliation for her remarks, she said by phone.

"They can blame me and hate me I don't care," said Jacobse at the Nov. 22 board meeting. "I just ask that they be kind to my daughter."

Jacobse says she never wanted Zivich to be fired but when asked if she wanted her back she replied "no."

Matt Grant, Reporter
mgrant@fox4now.com