Activities Director Suspended for Punishing Minn. Students for Internet Dance
An activities director has been placed on administrative leave following the suspension of seven Mound Westonka High School students - punished for a lunchroom dance deemed too risqué for school.
More than 250 people attended the district's school board meeting Monday in Minnetrista, Minn., said district spokeswoman Becca Heistad. Many parents demanded an apology for the students' punishment.
Superintendent Kevin Borg apologized to the group, and placed activities director Dion Koltes on administrative leave.
The incident now is under investigation by the district, Heistad said.
During the students' two-day suspension, the six hockey players and a swimmer missed playoff games.
The students were copying an Internet dance fad, called the "Harlem Shake," said Keith Randklev, school principal. In video recorded of the dance, more than a handful of students are seen dancing on tables and around the lunchroom.
Students organized the dance late Friday morning 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 before Monday night's meeting. 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. "There was activity that was not appropriate and did not lead to a safe environment."
The incident violated school policies by causing an unsafe school environment and interrupting school, which is why the students were suspended, Randklev said. The hockey players missed a quarterfinal game Friday, which the team lost, because of the suspensions.
Any student who's suspended isn't allowed to participate in school events, including athletic activities, Randklev said.
Police also ticketed the students for their behavior. The $75 fines issued by police has since been rescinded, Heistad said.
"These were difficult decisions," said Randklev earlier Monday. "We felt they were warranted and the timing was horrendous in terms of the impact for the activities involved."
The students returned to school Tuesday.