Cheerleading coach fired after forcing student into split
DENVER - An East Denver High School faculty member was fired after a video surfaced of a girl on his team being forced into a painful split.
A cell phone video went viral of screaming 14-year-old Ally Wakefield being forced into a split by fellow camp-goers and cheerleading coach, Ozell Williams.
The teen appears to be in serious pain as other squad members held her legs down.
Wakefield wasn't the first to be forced into a split. At least seven other girls were placed into the same painful position. During the video, you can hear one of the other cheerleaders asking the coach to "please stop," but Williams persisted.
The former cheerleading coach insisted the video was taken out of context.
“You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light,” Williams said.
But Ally's mother was mortified by the video; she said the coach went too far.
"I saw girls being tortured to where their screams and cries sounded like a serial killer had come after them," Kirsten Wakefield told ABC News.
"It didn't feel right," Kirsten said. "Somebody was attacking my little girl, and people sat around and let it happen, and nobody stopped them, and she was begging him to stop, and he kept doing it anyway."
Williams, along with the principal, assistant principal and assistant cheer coach were suspended by order of the school district. The coach was fired a few days later by order of the Denver Public Schools Superintendent.
The school district issued a statement condemning the coach's behavior saying in part they "absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students' physical and mental health in jeopardy. We will not allow any situation where a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond they wish to stop."
The Denver Police Department says they are continuing to investigate the incident.