Shocking video shows Denver high school cheerleader forced into repeated splits
A disturbing video has surfaced revealing cheerleading practices that left teens at a Denver high school in crippling pain.
As seen in a video released by NBC affiliate KUSA, teenagers at East High School are forced by coaches to maneuver into split positions as they scream and cry in protest.
Thirteen-year-old freshman student and cheerleader Ally Wakefield, who is featured in the video, says the split practice was tearing her "ligament and my muscle at the same time."
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"He was pushing down on the back of my right leg. He was pushing like with his other knee on my back to try to keep my posture straight," Wakefield says of coach Ozell Williams. Wakefield can be heard in the video yelling "please, stop" at least nine times.
Wakefield's mother, Kirsten Wakefield, sent an email of the video to high school administration asking what actions would be taken in light of the surfaced practices.
"This is a grown man pushing my 13-year-old girl so hard against her will while she's crying and screaming for him to stop that he's ripping tissues in her body," Kristen Wakefield said.
Police are now investigating the video and Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced officials have been placed on leave as law enforcement conduct their inquiries.
"In order to conduct a fair and thorough investigation, we have placed East Principal Andy Mendelsberg, East Assistant Principal Lisa Porter, East Cheer Coach Ozell Williams, East Assistant Cheer Coach Mariah Cladis and DPS Deputy General Counsel Michael Hickman on leave," the statement from Boasberg reads. "This is standard practice in an investigation of this type. It does not imply or prejudge in any way the actions of the individuals or what the investigation might determine."