Eight cheerleaders at East High School in Denver, Colorado were forced into doing splits at their cheerleading camp in June despite pleading with their coach not to (raw video below).
Police are investigating the incidents, which were filmed by a student. The cheerleaders’ arms were held by their teammates, which forced each cheerleader into the position.
One cheerleader, Ally Wakefield, cried and begged her coach, Ozell Williams, nine times to “please stop.”
Williams held down each girl’s shoulders, and pushed them down further, notes KUSA.
Williams is famous in the Denver area for doing backflips on the football field during Denver Broncos and Colorado University football games.
Williams, the assistant cheerleading coach, the high school principal, the assistant principal and the Denver Public Schools deputy general counsel were all placed on leave.
School administrators have had one video of the forced splits since June, but did not take action until the videos went public in late August.
Parents have filed complaints towards the school administrators and Williams for months. The police became involved on Aug. 23
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg issued a statement on Aug. 24:
Earlier today, I became aware of an exercise used at cheer practices this summer at East High School. We immediately began taking steps to investigate this issue, and our Department of Safety is supporting Denver Police in this effort…
I want to reiterate in no uncertain terms our commitment to the safety of our students. 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.