‘Please, stop’: Disturbing video shows cheerleaders being forced into splits

Warning: The video is difficult to watch and may be considered disturbing to some

DENVER — Denver police are investigating after a disturbing video shows cheerleaders being pushed down and forced into splits.

In the video, cheerleaders are forced down by their new cheer coach, Ozell Williams, while their arms are held up by other teammates, KDVR reports. A young student at East High School is shown crying out in pain, asking Williams to “please, stop.”

The video, which was sent anonymously to KUSA, was taken in June during the school’s first week of cheer camp. The station now has several videos showing eight cheerleaders being pushed down into forced splits.

Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools released a statement on the incident:

“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.”

Boasberg says Ozell, the school’s principal, assistant principal, assistant cheer coach, and Denver Public Schools Deputy General Counsel Michael Hickman have been placed on leave.