High school principal, athletic director leaves roles after investigation into cheerleader being forced into splits
The top two officials at a Denver high school are leaving their roles with the administration following an investigation stemming from complaints about cheerleaders being forced into painful splits by their coach.
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg during a press conference Friday announced East High School principal Andy Mendelsberg will be retiring and athletic director Lisa Porter, who was also served as vice principal, would resign.
A month-long investigation conducted by an outside law firm revealed both administrators failed to take corrective action against former Coach Ozell Williams, who was caught on video forcing his team members into splits while others held them down. What’s more, the pair failed to report the incident to superiors.
Williams was fired in August after clips of 13-year-old Ally Wakefield surfaced. The footage, which sparked widespread outrage, shows her screaming out in pain during a June summer camp session.
Cheerleading coach fired over video of girls’ excruciating splits
Her mother told 9News she emailed Porter, telling the athletic director her daughter experienced a leg injury because of the dangerous splits. She alleged her complaints went unacknowledged for months.
The Boulder Valley School District in Colorado also fired Williams from his job as a paid consultant in 2016 following similar complaints.
When footage from his practices was first made public, Williams told the Denver Post it had been taken out of context.
“You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light,” Williams said. “I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time.”
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