Minn. Athletics Director Resigns After 'Harlem Shake' Dance
An activities director has resigned amid an investigation into the suspension of seven Mound Westonka High School students involved in a "Harlem Shake" dance.
The students were copying the Internet dance fad, said Keith Randklev, school principal. In video recorded last month, more than a handful of students are seen dancing on tables and around the lunchroom at the school in Minnetrista, Minn.
On Monday, the Westonka School Board accepted the resignation of activities director Dion Koltes, effective immediately, reported the district. Koltes will be paid through June 30, but not for the final year of his contract, which ends next year.
Read the resignation agreement here.
"The board reached this agreement to avoid any potential dispute related to the employment agreement and so that both parties could move forward in an amicable fashion," the district stated in a release.
The district's attorney is still conducting an investigation on the dance incident.
Superintendent Kevin Borg stated that he's also creating a steering committee for the activities department. The group, made up of coaches and advisors, will develop a shared vision for the department, review its expectations and characteristics, and establish an interview process for hiring a new activities director.
Jeff Peterson, a dean at Grandview Middle School and a school basketball coach is acting as activities director. Interviews to replace Koltes will begin in May.
The changes come after more than 250 people attended a school board meeting last month. Many parents demanded an apology for the students' punishment.
Parents and students were angry of the students' two-day suspension, during which the six hockey players and a swimmer missed playoff games.
The hockey team lost the quarterfinal game.
At the meeting, Superintendent Kevin Borg apologized to the group, and placed Koltes on administrative leave.Students organized the dance Feb. 22 as part of a video production class assignment. School staff initially allowed the students to film in the lunchroom.
The group recruited others to join in. But when the camera rolled, a leader began dancing, and in less than a minute students were dancing inappropriately, said Randklev last month. Some students were throwing food, too.
"Many, many of the Harlem Shakes that I saw had a lot of hip-thrusting in their acts," Randklev said following the incident. "There was activity that was not appropriate and did not lead to a safe environment."
The dance violated school policies by causing an unsafe school environment and interrupting school, which is why the students were suspended, Randklev said. Any student who's suspended isn't allowed to participate in school events, including athletic activities.
Police also ticketed the students for their behavior. The $75 fines have since been rescinded.