Parents, Students Divided Over Termination Of Broward Cheer Coach
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PARKLAND (CBS4) – A Broward high school cheerleading coach is out of a job.
The Broward County School board took Melissa Prochilo out of her coaching position at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a handful of parents alleged their children were bullied and raised questions about money.
Superintendent Robert Runcie would not confirm exactly why Prochilo was removed, but he said, “When I have evidence about practices that are not consistent with our policies I need to make the appropriate recommendations to the board.”
Students and parents packed the school board meeting Tuesday. Most supported Prochilo.
“This whole thing is just ridiculous. She does not deserve this. She is the most caring person I know. This is not fair at all,” said Chelsie Kazanjian.
Prochilo said she had not been told why she was being let go. She said the superintendent made the decision Friday.
“He took away my job as a coach and I don’t know why, I haven’t heard why,” said Prochilo.
But four or five students said they were not treated fairly and their parents allege policies weren’t followed.
Jennia Taylor alleged the coach encouraged girls to forge their parents’ signatures on permission slips.
“Our parents did not sign the forms and we were told to forge our signatures because our parents weren’t there,” she said.
Kathy Silver claimed her daughter was bullied.
“She was bullied by a fellow teammate I brought it to the attention of the coach and the coach did nothing about it,” she said.
Parent, Tammy Tornari said she had concerns about money the team allegedly collected.
Those students who made accusations about Prochilo say they either did not make the cheerleading team this year, or they quit.
Prochilo said she was cleared of wrongdoing by a professional standards board and if she were to get her coaching position back, she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I don’t feel I did anything wrong to begin with, so I would do the same thing I’ve always done,” Prochilo said.
Superintendent Runcie said he had talked to both sides but had not spoken to Prochilo in person before she was removed from her position. He said both sides need to move forward.
“This is not about the coach. It’s about adults in the community that somehow have broken relationships and that has now filtered down to their children and the school and they are the key in moving forward,” he said.
Prochillo remains a substitute teacher in the district.