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A suspension, written reprimands issued over protest of Faribault dance team


The head dance coach at one high school is suspended for two competitions for her team's snub of the Faribault squad at the state dance championships; while staff at another high school have received written reprimands.

Wayzata and Lakeville were among the five schools who took part in the controversial protest when the Faribault Emeralds won the Class AAA State High Kick Championships last month, as the schools contended the Faribault team plagiarized their routine.

The teams from Wayzata, Eastview, Chaska, Eden Prairie and Lakeville South schools all stood together with their backs to Faribault and refused to move to their original positions on the floor at Target Center, causing them all to be disqualified.

Wayzata coach suspended

The Pioneer Press reports that an investigation in Wayzata has resulted in the school district giving head dance coach Leslie Swiggum a written reprimand. They told her she won't coach the team's first two competitions in 2015-16.

"One purpose of cocurricular activities is to teach our students about the importance of sportsmanship and how to conduct ourselves with integrity in the face of adversity. The demonstration during the awards ceremony did neither," the reprimand said, according to the newspaper.

Written reprimands in Lakeville South

The Star Tribune reports a probe by a Minneapolis law firm into the actions of Lakeville South has resulted in written reprimands from the school district.

Those receiving the reprimands are the activities director, the head dance coach, and five assistant coaches.

The probe found that although Lakeville South coaches were not the ringleaders of the protest, their involvement wasn't coerced and they didn't inform any of their students of the option to not take part.

"Perhaps most troubling, however, was the way in which student athletes were used by adults to express disagreement with a decision made by other adults. Children should never be placed in such a situation," school district executive director of administrative services Tony Massaros wrote, according to KSTP.

Lakeville's apology

The Faribault Emeralds were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Minnesota State High School League, after an investigation into whether the team had copied a choreographed routine used by a team in another state.

And WCCO reports two schools have written to Faribault apologizing for their actions since the events at Target Center, and the Faribault school has graciously accepted the personalized note from the Chaska dance team.

However, it has questioned the sentiments behind an email apology from Lakeville South, which according to the news station the Faibault says "doesn't seem authentic," despite congratulating them and recognizing that the school's actions had detracted from the joy Faribault students should have been experiencing.

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