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Colorado coach placed on leave after videos appear to show cheerleaders forced into splits

August 24, 2017 / Coaching
Denver Public Schools (Colorado) placed five school officials on administrative leave Thursday while it investigates an incident in its cheerleading program.

Screenshot via KUSA-Channel 9 in Denver.

This week, KUSA-Channel 9 in Denver obtained eight videos that show cheerleaders screaming in pain as they’re pushed down by coaches and teammates into forced splits. In one of the videos, a girl screams “please stop” nine times.

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg told The Denver Post on Thursday that the coach, a principal, assistant principal, assistant coach, and the school district deputy general counsel were all placed on leave. Police are also investigating the incident as a possible case of child abuse.

From The Denver Post:

“We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students’ physical and mental health in jeopardy,” said Boasberg in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Boasberg said.

The Denver Post reported that the coach, Ozell Williams, said the videos were taken out of context. He did not elaborate on the videos or what took place during the cheer camp.

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