A New Hampshire high school’s cheerleading program has been shut down due to allegations of bullying and harassment involving both the program’s students and adults.
On Thursday, the Londonderry School Board voted unanimously to suspend the high school’s cheerleading program effective immediately, according to a letter to families from 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.”
School officials are in the process of hiring an independent investigator to look into the allegations, the superintendent wrote. The school board will decide whether the cheerleading program will continue for the rest of the season on Sept. 25.
The school’s cheerleading coaches have been placed on administrative leave until the investigation concludes, Black wrote. School administrators support these decisions by the school board, he said.
“Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, and we hold student-athletes in Londonderry to high standards,” the superintendent wrote. “…When we receive allegations that a program’s overall culture is perpetuating mistreatment of students, we must act swiftly.”
Black clarified that as of yet, no wrongdoing has been found. If the investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, school administrators will address it through “typical disciplinary channels,” he said.
“Every administrator and School Board member in Londonderry 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.”
Black did not give any specifics about the allegations or when school officials were alerted to them
You can read the superintendent’s letter in full below: