By Mary Kekatos
Shocking video has emerged showing several Colorado high school cheerleaders being forced into painful splits as they beg coaches to stop.
Ally Wakefield, an incoming freshman at East High School, can be seen in a 24-second clip being forcefully held down by four people - three teammates and newly-hired cheerleading coach Ozell Williams, reported KUSA.
In the video, 13-year-old Wakefield is seen screaming "No I can't!" and "Please stop!" as several teammates hold her legs down and Williams pushes on her back, according to the Daily Mail.
In response, five employees, including Williams, have been placed on administrative leave while a police investigation gets underway.
KUSA reported that it received videos of eight cheerleaders repeatedly being pushed into splits while their arms are held up by teammates during the first week of cheer camp in June.
The station says the videos were shot on the phones of two team members and were sent anonymously to the station.
"It was tearing my ligament and my muscle at the same time," Wakefield told KUSA.
"He was pushing down on the back of my right leg. He was pushing like with his other knee on my back to try to keep my posture straight."
Wakefield's mother, Kirsten Wakefield, sent an email to the assistant principal on June 15, attaching a video and writing that her daughter injured her leg as a result of what happened on tape.
"This is a grown man pushing my 13-year-old girl so hard against her will while she's crying and screaming for him to stop that he's ripping tissues in her body," she told KUSA.
Denver Public Schools superintendent Tom Boasberg called the videos "extremely distressing".
"We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students' physical and mental health in jeopardy," Boasberg said in a statement.
"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."