School Officials Step Down After Videos Surface of Cheerleaders Being Forced Into Splits

A Colorado principal and athletic director are now both out of a job after a cheerleading scandal has come to a close.

Denver East High School principal Andy Mendelsberg has retired and athletic director Lisa Porter has resigned after videos surfaced showing a high school cheerleading coach pushing cheerleaders down into the splits.

Mendelsberg and Porter were both suspended last month after the recordings went viral. The school district launched an investigation after learning about the incident in August. Investigators found that the pair had been aware of the incident since June and that Mendelsberg refused to take action even after being confronted by parents.

On Friday, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg released a report by a law firm saying that former cheerleading coach Ozell Williams "bullied and humiliated" the young girls during their cheer camp.

Officials say school administrators saw at least one of the videos and met with Williams over the summer, but Boasberg says that meeting was not enough to protect the girls' safety.

The recordings showed as many as eight girls being forced into the splits. One of the girls appeared to cry out in pain and repeatedly asked her coach to "please stop." (Nine times in a matter of 24 seconds, to be exact.)

Williams was dismissed shortly after the videos went public, but his dismissal was not enough for the school district.


The report places most of the blame on Mendelsberg and Porter, who failed to act after hearing from parents: "Neither Mr. Mendelsberg, nor Ms. Porter, sought to interview the students, or to ensure that all of the cheer team parents had been notified about the existence of the videos," the report read.

It also placed blame on Mendelsberg and Porter for not filing an incident report, not asking if other students had been injured, and for not taking disciplinary action with Williams.