A New Hampshire high school’s cheerleading program has been suspended following allegations of bullying and harassment involving both students and adults associated with the program.
The Londonderry School Board unanimously voted to immediately suspend the high school’s cheerleading program.
The decision was communicated to families through a letter from Londonderry Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Black.
‘School officials have recently become aware of extremely concerning allegations regarding a toxic and pervasive culture of bullying, harassment, and discrimination on the Londonderry High School Cheerleading Squad,’ Black wrote.
‘Unfortunately, these allegations encompass the entire cheerleading program, including the coaching staff, student athletes, and parents.’
The cheerleading program at a Londonderry High School in New Hampshire has been temporarily suspended in response to allegations of bullying and harassment
The decision to suspend the high school’s cheerleading program was conveyed to families via a letter from Superintendent of Londonderry Public Schools Daniel Black
The cheerleading coaches at the school have now been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, as detailed in Black’s letter.
School administrators are also said to fully support the decisions made by the school board, Black explained.
The school is in the process of selecting an independent investigator to thoroughly examine the allegations with the school board due to make a decision on September 25 as to whether the cheerleading program should continue for this season.
‘Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, and we hold student-athletes in Londonderry to high standards,’ Superintendent Black wrote. ‘…When we receive allegations that a program’s overall culture is perpetuating mistreatment of students, we must act swiftly,’ the letter stated.
Black, who has been in his role as superintendent since December of last year also clarified that, at this point, no wrongdoing has been confirmed.
If the investigation determines that misconduct has occurred, the school administration will address it through ‘typical disciplinary channels’.
School authorities recently became aware of highly troubling allegations concerning a pervasive culture of bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the cheerleading program
Black emphasized the aim of every administrator and School Board member in Londonderry.
‘Every administrator and School Board member has the shared goal of helping students succeed in a caring, supportive learning environment,’ the superintendent wrote.
‘Where the integrity of that environment has been compromised, it is incumbent upon all of us to determine what went wrong and how we fix it.’
Notably, the letter did not provide specific details about the allegations or when school officials first became aware of them.
Londonderry High School has just over 1,400 pupils at grades 9 through 12
The school is now in the process of selecting an independent investigator to thoroughly examine the allegations with the school board due to make a decision on September 25th as to whether the cheerleading program should continue for this season
Black also cautioned against ‘gossip, rumors or speculation’ during the period of investigation.
‘Any student conduct that amounts to bullying or retaliation should be reported to the appropriate administrator and will be addressed accordingly,’ he wrote.
‘While your student’s conduct in school matters, please also be mindful of their conduct on the internet, including cyberbullying,’ he cautioned.
Londonderry police Captain Patrick Cheetham said his department is not involved in the investigation at this time.
‘We are aware of the letter. There is no open investigation,’ Cheetham said.
School officials also stated no criminal evidence has been found at this time to support the allegations.