Score One For Parents: Superintendent Dumps Cheerleading Coach Mothers Criticized


Score one for the parents.

Listening to tearful mothers, School Superintendent Robert Runcie has decided not to rehire a high school cheerleading coach accused of allowing bullying and other widespread violations of rules last year.

Runcie gave no reason for his decision.  Earlier this month he recommended that coach Melissa Prochilo be hired to lead cheerleading at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

His action Friday was to withdraw an earlier recommendation to hire the coach and pay her $2,169.

His decision came after mothers, some of them sobbing, told the School Board earlier this month that there was widespread bullying in Prochilo’s program last year.

The mothers said that when they complained to school administrators about how cheerleading was being run,  their daughters were harassed on the Internet, retaliated against, threatened and publicly belittled.

Mothers also complained they were forced to pay over a thousand dollars for their child to be a cheerleader in violation of the school system’s anti-pay-for-play policy.

The policy is designed to open activities to all public school students, including those whose parents can’t afford to pay for them to participate.

There were also accusations that there was failures to report injuries, violations of field trip rules and tens of thousands of dollars handled without the safeguards required by school system policies.

Parents said that Stoneman Douglas Principal Washington Collado did nothing when told of the problems in the program.

Runcie’s recommendation on the fate of Prochilo will be discussed at Tuesday’s Board meeting.

The coach’s critics have irrefutable evidence that violations of school system policies took place.

Still, Prochilo has her supporters.

Both supporters and critics are expected to attend. That should make for a lively debate.

Stay tuned.

Here is a more complete earlier story on the situation.

And here is a story I did for, a non-profit website, which was reprinted in local newspapers about the situation.

Below is Runcie’s recommendation on next week’s agenda. It uses her maiden name, which how she is identified by the school system’s Human Relations (click to enlarge):


11 Responses to “Score One For Parents: Superintendent Dumps Cheerleading Coach Mothers Criticized”

  1. The Truth says:

    The Truth Is that if the principal really ignored the complaints, he should be dealt with too.
    That is the Truth.

  2. New Runcie Fan says:

    This is the first sign I’ve seen that Runcie is trying to listen to the parents. Maybe a new day has come to the Broward Schools.

  3. Change has come says:

    I believe that Superintendent Runcie will be making lots of well thought out and responsible changes that need to be made. Just give him time. He will do the job that he was brought in from Chicago to do!

  4. concerned parent says:

    I am impressed. Runcie really showed a great deal of courage. Let this be a lesson to coaches run wild

  5. A Parkland Parent says:

    The real story will come out tomorrow at the Board meeting. These girls claim they were bullied, yet they were the ones doing the bullying. These parents were bullying the coach from day one. When she didn’t agree to do what they wanted, they worked to fire her. There are two sides to every story.

  6. Snow says:

    What did the patents want that they did not get? I hope someone will clearly explain how a Coach was affected. It seems as though the coach was winning until the Superintendent finally fired her. She broke BCSB policies as describe, belittle established cheerleaders and seems to have raised an astounding amount iof parents money. At no-time does it say the dollar contribution she ever provided. I had the pleasure of looking at the past yearbook of MSD. The competitive cheerleading season reflected a poor performance versus previous years of completion. Unfortunately, money was not well spent and coaching was all but a failure. Sometimes people need to look at achievements. Melissa and the administration failed. I would hope they look at Kaufman and Collado, they both deserve poor grades in leadership!! They should get better people to run a school who can bring dignity back to MSD. Will Kaufman’s wife fire them both???

  7. Wayne Arnold says:

    Superintendent Runcie should be applauded for his action on this matter.

  8. GIMS says:

    Superintendent”s have never stayed because they have been underminded by the North Area and it’s staff, I believe he has what it takes to do the job and clean house with all of his administration staff. Stand Strong and investigate all of them the corruption is within your staff. First look at HR and SIU, you will find a big cover up.

  9. Lisa Maxwell says:

    Buddy – rarely have I ever seen you be so wrong about an issue. There are many facts which are a matter of record that you have failed to report. Blogs can and do hurt peoples careers and reputations. I encourage you to dig deeper on this one.

  10. Cheerleader says:

    She is innocent. In order to be a cheerleader it takes hard work and dedication, you have to be at a level where your school is known for the best. So when a coach makes you run or do push-ups etc; don’t say she’s bullying you especially when you didn’t make the team. #TeamMelissa love your fellow Charger!

  11. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Posters on this blog who have official roles with school employee groups should so label themselves, particularly when the messenger is being blamed. In fact, it appears that Buddy has done his homework on this one. In the past, booster clubs and other quasi-official sports groups have been notorious areas for principals to shift funds around. In some districts principals take 10% off the top, and then the remainder is devoted to whatever cause — freeing up money for the principal to allocate elsewhere as well. These funds are not run through the rather strict internal school accounting system, and have caused problems elsewhere. For example, see the Sun-Sentinel: Flanagan High staffers pay themselves $2,206 to work at booster club fundraiser
    By Jennifer Gollan, February 11, 2010 | 7:20 AM
    South Plantation High kept $200,000 a year in undisclosed fund
    July 18, 2011|By Cara Fitzpatrick, Sun Sentinel
    These are just two examples; there are a number which never make it to the press. There is so much money flowing through parent groups at schools which technically are not public funds until the school actually receives them, yet they support public school functions. There needs to be much more accountability to protect parents who typically are the source for these donations.