Cheerleaders forced into splits

More stories from Brianna Herder

Outrage unified the nation when video surfaced of high school cheerleaders being forced into doing splits. One of the young girls in the video asked teammates to record the exercise in order for her to show her mother, who in turn demanded an investigation of the situation be launched. The coach, Ozell Williams, has since been relieved of his duties as coach for the team. Williams is Founder and CEO of “Mile High Tumblers”, a group of athletes who aim to “develop strong athletes and well-rounded citizens by teaching discipline, responsibility, respect, sense of ownership and other characteristics that mimic upstanding citizenship.” The website also states that the group aims to “prepare” each member both “mentally and physically.”
According to the Mile High Tumblers website, Williams is an “Olympic Athlete having won three Team USA first place rings in preliminary games.” It also lists Williams as a cheerleader for the University of Colorado Buffs, along with having made appearances at Broncos and Nuggets games, as well as “other events in Colorado.”
Despite all of his qualifications, Williams’ teaching methods were deemed too inhumane in order for him to maintain his job, not only at East High School in Denver, but in other areas he coached where he forced girls into similar positions. According to the Washington Post, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg said of the viral videos, “I have watched all of the videos. And as a superintendent, and as a father, and as an athlete, they are deeply disturbing,” Boasberg said “What happened was wrong. Under no circumstances should a young person be in a situation where they are suffering physical or emotional harm. Under no circumstances should a young person be forced to continue any activity beyond their desire to stop.”
One of the young girls shown in the video, Ally Wakefield, 13, claims she is now being cyberbullied and accused of faking her injuries, according to the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association. Wakefield pulled her hamstring as a result of the abuse she received in the video. However, many critics are discrediting her injury and even urging her to commit suicide. Wakefield refuses to allow the naysayers get to her, “The world is a scary place and the people you think you can trust, you can’t always, and you just have to be conscious of who you are with and just trust your gut feeling,” Ally told Fox News.