DENVER - Cheerleading coaches and school administrators in a Colorado district have been placed on leave, and Denver police are investigating amid series of videos showing high school cheerleaders screaming in pain while being pushed into splits during practice.
The videos show eight cheerleaders at Denver's East High School repeatedly being pushed into splits while their arms are held up by teammates. In one video, a girl repeatedly asks her coach to "please stop."
Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg calls the videos "extremely distressing." He says the school's principal and an assistant principal, the cheer coach and his assistant and a district lawyer have been placed on leave during the investigation.
The head of a national cheerleading group says newly released video of a Denver teen crying while a coach and teammates hold her down shows techniques that are outdated and damaging.
Cheerleading Coaches and Administration Association director Jim Lord said Thursday that forcing athletes into painful stretching used to happen decades ago. But he said coaches are now required to learn safe stretching practices.
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