A video shows what multiple cheerleaders at a Denver High School were forced to endure: being held down and forced into splits.
According to NBC affiliate K5, police are investigating the incidents. The school’s cheer coach, assistant cheer coach, high school principal, assistant principal and Denver Public Schools deputy general counsel have all been placed on leave.
School administrators were reportedly given at least one of the videos in June.
In the video shot in June, incoming freshman Ally Wakefield is seen crying as she is forced by teammates and the coach to go into an extended split. It was just the first week of cheer camp.
Seven other cheerleaders are forced to do the same. Coach Ozell Williams is shown in the video pushing each girl down by their shoulders.
Wakefield’s father, Eric Wakefield, told the New York Post that he’s been unable to sleep since the video of his daughter crying has been circulated. He said that she is now the victim of cyberbullying. The dad also said that Coach Williams threatened to kick anyone off the team if footage of the practices were to be leaked.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg issued a statement about the investigation.
"We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students’ physical and mental health in jeopardy. We do not and will not allow any situation in which a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop," the statement reads. "With regards to certain videos, I cannot state strongly enough – as the superintendent of the school district and as the father of two high school-aged daughters -- that the images and actions depicted are extremely distressing and absolutely contrary to our core values as a public school community."
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