A cheerleading coach accused of creating an atmosphere like that in teen film Mean Girls has been cleared of all wrongdoing after a three-month investigation.
Melissa Prochilo was accused of bullying the pupils in her care at a Florida high school, and forcing their parents to spend huge sums of money for them to take part in activities.
She was fired by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School following the allegations, and despite having now been found innocent, Ms Prochilo has not got her job back.
The accusations emerged over the summer, with some parents saying she had implemented a pay-to-play scheme at the squad's 'booster club' that had cost them thousands of dollars.
Several former cheerleaders told the school board she had made them afraid to walk through the halls of their high school for fears of being harassed by members of the current cheer squad.
'She was going to put me in a room with the girl who was bullying me,' one girl told ABC.
'I felt like I was being humiliated and targeted,' said another.
The girls and their families claimed Ms Prochilo had fostered a hostile atmosphere - much like that depicted in high school film Mean Girls - in which cliques feud as they battle over the social pecking order.
Parents claimed they were told that if they failed to pay the full dues of $1,000 their children would be kicked off the squad.
Tammy Tornari, who has two daughters on the squad, was billed for $2,000 by the Eagles Cheerleading Booster Club, the Broward Bulldog reported.
When she tried to find out where the money was going, she says, she was banned from school grounds.
It was later revealed that the club had collected $60,000 from parents of cheerleaders, including $9,000 for external coaches and out-of-town trips.
Other parents reported that Ms Prochila instructed her students to forge their parents' signatures on field trip permission slips and took them on unauthorised out-of-county trips with few chaperones.
They also said six cheerleaders had been injured performing dangerous moves on the squad.
Ms Prochila said at the time: 'I'm not a bully coach. The money is easy to prove. There are receipts for everything. That's the easiest part.'
While some parents said her squad was 'rife with problems', others said Ms Prochilo was the victim of angry parents with connections to the school board.
Under pressure, Superintendent Robert Runcie fired Ms Prochilo as coach, even though two previous investigations said the allegations against her were without merit.
Members of her current squad staged a protest outside the school board meeting, holding posters bearing slogans including 'connections not truth, keep coach', 'we love Douglas' and '3 say nay 300 say yay!'
The latest investigation found that the problems stemmed from 'distractions and disruptions' that came from Ms Prochilo's detractors, according to local10.com.
The report also acknowledged 'an overwhelming amount of support from the parents on her team.'
Scott Etheridge, a parent, said: 'You can use influence and get people fired, people who have dedicated their lives to teaching. This is Pandora's box wide open.'
Ms Prochilo said earlier this month: 'I just want my name cleared. The superintendent didn't stick up for me. Everything was unfounded.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-**/Mean-Girls-cheerleading-coach-Melissa-Prochilo-cleared-allegations-bullied-students--school-fired-her.html#ixzz2AJqRuDuQ
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