Police officers in Denver are currently investigating an upsetting incident where a group of teenage cheerleaders were physically forced to perform splits.
Disturbing footage has been released showing cheerleaders being roughly pushed down into the splits position by their new cheer coach, Ozell Williams.
The high school students’ arms are being held by their teammates, and they are unable to move out of the potentially harmful position.
One video shows 13-year-old Ally Wakefield, who injured her leg as a result of the incident.
Ally is in obvious distress and can be heard saying ‘please stop’ multiple times throughout her frightening ordeal at East High School’s summer cheer camp.
You can watch the shocking abuse of power for yourself below:
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The footage, secretly taken on camera phones, was sent to 9news, who are currently in the process of identifying and interviewing the young people affected.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg made the following statement to 9news:
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.
The investigation is ongoing and the cheer coach, assistant cheer coach, high school principal and assistant principal have all been put on leave.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.