Justice for Ally!
After a shocking video surfaced of 13-year-old high school student Ally Wakefield crying in agony while a coach forces her to do splits, Denver’s East High School coach Ozell Williams was fired.
Four other school employees — Principal Andy Mendelsberg, Assistant Principal Lisa Porter, Assistant Cheerleading Coach Mariah Cladis and an attorney for Denver Public Schools — have been put on leave in the wake of the shocking incident, and police have opened an investigation as to whether the painful incident is child abuse.
“I want to be very clear that this technique is dangerous and unacceptable,” Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a statement on the school’s website, east.dpsk12.org.
“We do not permit forced split or any practice or technique that puts the physical safety or emotional well-being of any of our kids at risk.”
Any parent would be horrified at the ordeal Ally endured during a cheer camp session earlier this year.
Eight girls were shown being forced into splits, but it was footage of Ally, crying out in pain and pleading, “Please stop,” that was the hardest to watch.
The harrowing videos were sent anonymously to TV station KUSA.
“On a personal note, as hard as it was, I have watched all of the videos,” Boasberg added.
“As a superintendent, and as a father, and as an athlete, they are deeply disturbing. What happened was wrong.”
Ally’s mother, Kristen Wakefield, told CBS News that her child left that practice with a pulled hamstring and torn muscle tissue.
But the lasting effects could be even worse.
“The doctor said 100 percent that the injury she sustained was directly caused by the coach’s knee on the back of her thigh, forcing it the floors,” explained the distraught mom.
“She said that it could possibly fracture the pelvic system and reproductive organs as well.”
And while it has been revealed that Coach Williams was previously fired from Boulder High School in Boulder, Colorado, last year for similar reasons, he told the Denver Post, “You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light.
“I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time.”
Ally, on the other hand, has quite a different take on her ordeal.
“The world is a scary place and people you think you can trust, you can’t always,” the brave girl told CBS News.
“You just have to trust your gut feeling.”