A video has surfaced of a 13 year-old high-school cheerleader being restrained by her teacher and classmates and FORCED to do the splits. (scroll down to watch the full video)
The distressed young girl, Ally Wakefield, whimpers and repeatedly begs her coach to stop while fellow students giggle as they assist in holding and pushing her down further.
The footage shows coach Ozell Williams of East High School, Denver, Colorado, pushing his weight down onto the girl and blatantly ignoring her screams of agony…
It is worth noting, though, that she wasn’t the only person subjugated to inhuman torment as the background of the video shows around eight other cheerleaders being handled in the same manner.
Ally’s mother, Kirsten Wakefield, revealed that she had sent an email to the school’s athletic director, Lisa Porter, when she first saw the disturbing footage back in June:
“I have attached a video of the forced splits she and her other team members were forced to do at cheerleading camp and practices; unless they had a doctor’s note. This is how Ally injured her leg.
“My husband and I would like to know what the administration is going to do about my daughter’s injury and how it happened.”
Ozell Williams and numerous other coaches and administration of East High School have been placed on leave as well as being investigated by police—some of the students featured in the video are also being questioned.
The coach Mr Williams has gained local celebrity status for breaking a world record for tumbling in 2014 and for his videos on YouTube, performing back-flips and jumps at games for NFL team the Denver Broncos.
East High School Superintendent Tom Boasberg released a public statement addressing the incident and the investigation:
“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.
“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.
“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. Please know that we will share the results of the investigation as soon as possible.
“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.
“While this investigation is ongoing, we are entirely focused on ensuring our students and staff at East are receiving the supports they need. A senior leader at the school, East Assistant Principal Jason Maclin, will serve as interim principal during this time and we are providing additional counseling for our students and families.
“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.”