Pasco school district investigating claims that cheerleader was forced to kneel during anthem

Pasco County

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials with the Pasco County school district say they are investigating an incident with a cheerleader that allegedly happened during a high school football game Friday.

According to the school district, the entire cheerleading squad at Anclote High School took a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest. One of the cheerleaders claims she didn’t want to but was physically forced to do so.

As rumors about the incident swirl at the school, the district is investigating what exactly happened and if any policies were violated.

Right now, district officials say they’ve confirmed cheerleaders took a knee on the sideline during the national anthem before Friday night’s football game. The district tells 8 On Your Side it is investigating claims that an assistant cheerleading coach grabbed a cheerleader by the arm and forced her to kneel.

While the district says kneeling doesn’t appear to be against school policy, physically forcing a student to do so is another matter. That’s why they say they’re investigating to find out exactly what happened.

8 On Your Side reached out to the family of the cheerleader, who now has an attorney. The attorney had not returned phone calls and texts asking for comment as of Monday night.

8 On Your Side did receive a statement from the lawyer representing the Anclote High School Assistant Cheerleading Coach which read in part:

Under no circumstances whatsoever did our client have any physical contact with the accusing cheerleader to “force” her to kneel, nor was the cheerleader “forced” to kneel in any rational meaning of the word. Photos from the game bear this out. If the accusing cheerleader has video to support her accusation, as she claims, we encourage her to produce it immediately or withdraw her accusation. In fact, the accusing cheerleader was already kneeling and had locked arms with the cheerleader next to her (as described by the Athletic Director) when the Assistant Cheerleading Coach walked up and knelt next to her, linking arms as the rest of the squad was already doing.

Law Offices of Luke Lirot


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