Suspended DPS cheer coach was dismissed from consultant work with Boulder cheer team

DENVER — A suspended East High School coach who is under fire for a recently released video depicting student cheerleaders being forcefully held into splits may have had past issues with other teams, leading to his dismissal at a Boulder school.

Boulder Valley School District confirmed Friday to Denver7 that Ozell Williams, the now-suspended Denver coach, worked as a contractor with the Boulder High School Cheerleading Team in both 2015 and for a short time in 2016 before the district dismissed him as a contractor.

According to Boulder Valley School District officials, a coach witnessed Williams using questionable "techniques" with the cheerleaders, which also garnered a complaint from a parent. 

In the complaint, the parent questioned the technique, which she called "breaking." The mother said she was disappointed in the use of the technique, and the fact that her daughter told her she felt it was not optional to participate. 

In a return email, one of the school's employees told the parent that their children are never required to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. 

That employee also defended the technique to an extent, saying, "(Williams) stretches them out, but it does not harm them in any way. It is an exercise that is commonly used and does not "break" them in anyway [sic]."

An official letter sent to Boulder parents denounced a video of the coach utilizing seemingly similar techniques on girls in Denver Public Schools' East High after it became a national talking point on Thursday. 

"We were horrified while watching," officials wrote in the letter. "We are now working closely with law enforcement ... Please know this behavior is not acceptable." 

In the letter, the school district said, "No concerns about the consultant were brought to the attention of administration prior to last night."

See coverage of the original story here.

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