Update — Failure In The Front Office: School Principal’s Missteps Aggravated Cheerleading Crisis



Broward’s cheerleading scandal should have never gotten this far.

The bullying, financial missteps and other failings in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School cheerleading program should not have ended up at the School Board.

It should have never left the front office of the school.

Blame one person: Principal Washington Collado.


Washington Collado

I don’t know Washington Collado from George Washington.

I do know that a true leader would have headed this controversy off and solved it a year ago,.  That’s when parents first complained about being charged over a thousand dollars to join cheerleading.

A true leader would have done something a year ago when parents complained their daughters were being bullied in person and on the Internet.

A true leader would have done something a year ago when parents complained their daughters were being injured in the program.

And what did Collado do?

For one, he took sides.  He apparently sided with Coach Melissa Prochilo, who was accused of mishandling the cheerleading program.

One parent who complained was labeled disruptive and banned from the campus without due process. Without a chance to tell her story. All on Collado’s orders.  I’ve seen his letter forbidding her, a parent with kids in the school, from stepping into Stoneman Douglas.

It seems to me that Collado is a failed principal.

Sadly, his bosses backed Collado until it was too late.

These front office bureaucrats circled the wagons when one of their principals was criticized.  They circled the wagons instead of finding justice and doing what was best for students.

Sadly, all this was dumped on Superintendent Robert Runcie.

It should have never reached Runcie.  His administrators failed him.

Almost every member of the School Board complained that the issues at Stoneman Douglas should have been fixed at the school.

Collado should have dealt with Prochilo.  Instead Tuesday, Runcie had to dump her and the Board ratified that decision Tuesday.

“There were lots of opportunity for this to be resolved early on,” member Donna Korn said Tuesday.  “It was not.”

Member Laurie Rich Levinson agreed: “I’m upset it has risen to this level and it hasn’t been handled at the school level.”

Member Robin Bartleman said it was up to Collado to repair the student body badly divided by the controversy.

“As the leader of that school, I trust he will be able to do that,” Bartleman said.

To me, that sounded like a veiled threat.

Mr. Collado, it appears you now have a target on your back.

Only you can find a way to remove it by showing some leadership…finally.


An earlier post on the Stoneman Douglas cheerleading dispute is here.

21 Responses to “Update — Failure In The Front Office: School Principal’s Missteps Aggravated Cheerleading Crisis”

  1. Parent says:

    Runcie acted like e a real leader on this one unlike the buses. We need to see more.

  2. Korn on the Kobb says:

    Thanks so much for your input Donna, so nice of you to come in after everything was resolved to chime in on the winning side. Great example of leadership, sadly this incident was going on in your District for monthing and you had nothing to say until now. Talk about leaderhsip…

  3. mrcort-data guy says:

    True leaders listen – understand – communicate – explain actions – follow-up. And True Leaders don’t always make everyone happy – but in their decisions but that are unhappy know why the decision was made based on the facts.

    Good article – I think a lot of school administrators are afraid of being Leaders.

  4. Real Deal says:

    If administrators are afraid of being leaders that’s because parents are not being parents, school officials are doing their jobs, and children are not kept within reasonable boundaries.

    It means the school district is failing to create an environment in which education can occur because basic roles are not enforced and respected. I believe this cheerleading coach is not a horrible person but did things in an unusual way. I see no evidence of malice on her part but suspect her manner is more abrasive than necessary. I also believe that there were a handful vengeful girls in that school who manipulated the situation in order to hurt a member of the school staff. We see this behavior constantly in middle and high schools. It cannot be tolerated. Much more is at stake than cheerleading in this discussion.

    The principal is at fault because the buck must always stop there but the deeper problem is we have lost our sense of roles and responsibilities when it comes to parenting, kids and school staff.

  5. Douglas Insider says:

    Since Douglas opened, many sports team and activities have been pay to play. If your dad owned a nursery and u wanted to play baseball, you had to find “donations” for trees around the field. If not, you were going to be cut. There is more to this story Buddy!

  6. Making good decisions? says:

    Why did Principal Collado hire Coach Prochilo as a permanent full-time substitute teacher AFTER he was aware of the bullying, financial missteps & other failings in the MSD cheerleading program? He disbanded the Booster Club in March, but he hired the coach on to his staff as a full-time employee???

  7. Mia says:

    There are a lot of “why” questions that need answers.. Why are parents allowed to run certain schools? Why are students allowed to run their parents’ homes… Why are teachers held accountable for things they have NO control over?? Why, why, why would anyone want to work under THESE conditions????

  8. Jeanne says:

    I do know Washington Collado. He is an honest, hard working principal that has always followed the rules. He has been asset to every school he has been to and was nominated by his community in Coconut Creek as a Principal of the Year Candidate. That year he was a finalist.

    I have to wonder what exactly did this cheerleader coach do that piss these moms off that they went after her? And why is it Ok for Katie Leach to involve herself in this issue, when it was clear that this meddling is tantamount to micromanaging a school not in her purview.

    This isn’t over unfortunately and I am predicting a law suit over this.

  9. Please listen says:

    I beg to differ with your opinion of Collado . There are many many people that think he need to move on . All he did this year was play around with the coach .
    It was each and every school board member stood behind Runcie , stop picking on leach , she just had them look at the true evidence and there was tons . They could have stood up but they saw what he saw . It was in black and white . And you are right it’s not over . For those who lied under oath , or mis handeled funds . Stay tuned

  10. Tamarac Talk says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what kind of bullying was going on. Real or just imagined by a few disgruntled parents?

  11. Sharing a comment I came across.... says:

    Of course this dodgy damsel’s subjects were ‘loyal’ to her. The same way Al Capone’s ‘associates’ were loyal to him – if they knew what was good for them! Once again, Flori-duh at its very best. That says it all.

  12. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    The call was Superintendent Runcie’s to make, which he did. Any school board member — particularly at-large members, as Katie Leach — can publicly request his review of ANY matter pertaining to ANY school. The problem is when school board members do this secretly, or jump over the superintendent. That stuff has ben going on for far too long, and has to stop.

    And BTW fear of lawsuits should never deter any public officials from doing what they in their professional judgement is the right thing to do. That’s what they’re paid to do.

  13. BrowardTeacher says:

    I have seen several occasions recently where parents/students actually make-up something about a teacher to get what they want, like a different teacher, schedule change, etc. Administration, trying to stop the made-up event from going to the Crystal Palace, will appease the parent, honoring their wishes. That means more lies about teachers, even lies that cost teachers their jobs, will continue to grow. This trend has to stop.

  14. Mia says:

    Yes.. There is truth on both sides…does everyone realize that the Superintendent works FOR the SBBC members and not the other way around??? I’ve seen enough disrespect to last 2 lifetimes. The usual posters with the usual comments…

  15. Justice Awaits says:

    Yes, Broward Teacher. It is time for teachers to start filing suits against these zealous parents.

  16. AP says:

    Are you threatening a principal
    Are you fanning the flames
    This is a 1 on a scale of 1000
    3500 students 58 cheerleaders
    Small potatoes
    You are an old man who has not a clue
    When the light shines on you it will be bad
    My recommendation I to stop placing veiled threats on the backs of schools principals and go back to your blog that nobody sees


    (1) There was a requirement to pay large sums of money to participate in the cheerleading program in violation of School Board policy. The pay-for-play requirement automatically excludes any talented public school students who can’t afford thousands of dollars a year.

    (2) Large sums of money were collected from parents and handled without the financial safeguard required by School Board policies designed to prevent the misuse of funds.

    (3) There were violations of the School Board and state’s anti-bullying policy which require a record of bullying complaints be taken and the complaint handled seriously by the administrators. At Stoneman Douglas, these complaints were brushed off.

    (4) There was a failure to report injuries in the program as required by School Board policy.

    (5) There was a serious violation of field trip rules.

    In addition, when a parent complained about the program she was banned from the campus by the principal without any due process. The principal decided she was disruptive and handed her a letter banning her from the campus, without allowing her any opportunity to give her side of the story. This is un-American and perhaps illegal.

    All this is documented with financial evidence, including cancelled checks and bank statements. Other documents I have seen include cell phone records, screen captures from Twitter and other computer information, an investigative report and letters from the school system and interviews with both sides of this dispute.

    When confronted with this situation, school system administrators did what they are best at: Nothing, except to cover it up.

    The school system’s inaction in this on many levels is irrefutable. This is not a he-said, she-said. This is not just a bunch of angry women arguing.

    This is widespread violations of the School Board’s own policies by staff and administrators. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

  17. Collado is Just One Example says:

    Principals like Washington Collado believe they should never be criticized. This is the typical lack of listening to the parents, which happens in so many schools. Maybe if principals could be fired parents would be treated differently. It is time to end contract employment for principals and make them at-will employees. That would change their attitude immediately.

  18. Obermann says:

    Correction: I refer you all to Bob Norman’s article.

  19. No TRESPASSING! says:


  20. christine says:

    Apparently you have never worked in Parkland.

  21. MortifiedTeacher says:

    Bravo #7 & #13

    This is the problem with AMERICAN schools. The parents run the system. If a parent disagrees with anything going on at the school all they have to do is make a phone call. It’s freaking absurd, it’s time parents worried more about being parents, supported the decisions made by the professionals, and quit butting into things they know nothing about!