The high school cheerleader who was forced into an extended split by her coach despite screaming and crying in pain is now claiming that she is being bullied by online trolls for reporting the incident, which was recorded in a hard-to-watch viral video.
13-year-old Ally Wakefield was at a summer cheer camp at East High School when the squad’s coach, Ozell Williams, carried out a drill that saw Williams and other teammates force students into the split position and hold them down. She filmed the entire exercise, which she thought was normal until she showed the video to her mom, KDVR reported.
“These girls are 13 to 17 and this is a crucial development stage for them, and what kind of message are we sending if we tell them it is alright for an adult to abuse you while you’re screaming ‘no, stop,’ and not be able to do anything about it or speak up and not have any recourse,” her mother, Kirsten Wakefield, said.
Since speaking up, Ally claims, she has become the victim of online cyberbullies who have blamed her for faking her injuries and told her to kill herself. However, Kirsten pointed to the multiple doctors who have examined her daughter and diagnosed her with torn muscles and possibly a pulled hamstring.
“The world is a scary place and the people you think you can trust, you can’t always and that you just have to be conscious of who you are with and just trust your gut feeling,” Ally said, expressing hope that her experience would help other young cheerleaders.
“I know what it’s like to not have a voice and it really sucks, and so I just want to be their voice because I have the opportunity to,” she concluded.
East High’s cheerleading squad met with Denver police investigators and medical examiners on Thursday night, with law enforcement investigating the incident as possible child abuse. Multiple school officials –
including principal Andy Mendelsberg, assistant principal Lisa Porter, and Williams – have been placed on leave.