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Entire New Hampshire high school cheerleading program suspended for harassment, toxic culture

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An entire New Hampshire champion cheerleading program was on the hook for an alleged “toxic and pervasive culture” impacting students and administrators alike.

(Video: WHDH)

The Londonderry School Board sent a clear message last week that harassment of any kind would not be tolerated when they voted unanimously in response to allegations raised against the cheerleading squad. With a suspension lasting until Sept. 25, Londonderry Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Black provided cursory details in a press release to the public.

According to the letter addressed to the families of the district, administrators had become aware of concerning allegations related to the once NHIAA D1 and multi-time JV D1 state champion cheerleading program.

Those issues were presented to the school board during a closed session, resulting in the determination to seek an outside investigator to conduct a thorough review of the situation.

“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,” wrote Black. “Unfortunately, these allegations encompass the entire cheerleading program, including the coaching staff, student athletes, and parents.”

As a result of the allegations that the “overall culture is perpetuating mistreatment of students,” the coaching staff was placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

With regards to the program itself, the superintendent expressed, “Participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege, and we hold student-athletes in Londonderry to high standards…When we receive allegations that a program’s overall culture is perpetuating mistreatment of students, we must act swiftly.”

Details pertaining to specific allegations were not publicized and Black emphasized that “there has been no finding of any wrongdoing in the cheerleading program” and, should it be determined there had been misconduct, “administration will address that misconduct through typical disciplinary channels.”

The investigation was independent of law enforcement as Londonderry Police Captain Patrick Cheetham had told the media, “We are aware of the letter. There is no open investigation.”

Meanwhile, the community was asked to refrain from hampering the investigation by participating in “gossip, rumors or speculation,” as a reminder was given that their school board policies extend to “cyberbullying, and administration will address those allegations through its typical process.”

“Every administrator and School Board member in Londonderry has the shared goal of helping students succeed in a caring, supportive learning environment,” expressed Black. “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.”

The superintendent concluded, “We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible and we thank you all for your commitment to making LHS a safe and respectful environment for all students.”

Reactions on social media found it particularly appalling that parents could potentially be involved in bullying or harassment of students, while others wondered if it was just the latest instance of transgenderism invading girls’ spaces before playing the victim.

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Kevin Haggerty
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