MOUND, Minn. - An online video led to suspensions at a Twin Cities area high school. However, students say the school is over reacting.
The Harlem Shake is the latest dance craze to sweep the nation and YouTube. But trying to replicate it landed students in trouble at Mound Westonka High School on Friday.
Mound Westonka High School Principal Keith Randklev said students in a TV production course did watch the Harlem Shake in class and got the go ahead to replicate it as an assignment. But he said when they recruited students to dance in the lunchroom, their version went too far.
Some students were suspended, including six seniors who missed a big hockey game as a result.
Kyle Luehmann is one of them. He and three other hockey players had to watch hockey on TV at a friend's home on Saturday.
They had planned on playing in their section playoff game Friday night but were suspended after they participated in the Harlem Shake video. Their team lost and they missed their final game.
Luehmann said, "It's heartbreak. I mean you can't describe it."
They were suspended along with other students for jumping up on a lunch table to dance for the taping of the Harlem Shake on Friday.
They showed us student cell phone video of their Harlem Shake. The original video, taken by a student for the assignment, was confiscated by school officials.
They said they agreed to help the friend producing the video which was to be aired during school announcements next week.
But Principal Keith Randklev says school policies were violated. He said, "It got to a point where it simply as one of the students would say it got out of hand."
He said students making the video were told they could enlist the help of students at their lunch table but, "There was no denial or approval that anything was to take place in the lunchroom. There are various open areas in our building and the belief was that students would coordinate some number of kids from the lunch table, I suspect, for this video."
On the cell phone video it does look like chaos, as students danced on the lunch table, but the students said it only lasted 15 seconds. And their parents wonder if it is enough to warrant suspension.
Some students were also cited by police for disorderly conduct.
Kyle Luemann was suspended and cited because he said when he was dancing on the table with a friend, "He fell into me and I kind of pushed him back into his own place and then we both received tickets for disorderly conduct."
He said after they taped the video, he didn't know he did anything wrong until he was quickly notified just before the end of the school day.
Luemann said, "So we were not given hardly any chance to give our side of the story."
Julie Curti's son was also suspended. She said, "As a parent I just feel really saddened and frustrated that the kids didn't really have a chance to respond. They just had judgment passed on them and the judgment was huge."
These parents and students say no one was hurt, nothing was broken and that students just thought they were having teacher-approved fun.
When asked if anyone was hurt or anything was broken, Randklev said, "I'll not comment on that but nevertheless, again, as I said, there were school policies violated and we followed through on that."
He said school policy and data privacy prevents him from releasing the video that led to the suspensions.
As of Saturday evening, Randklev could not give the number of students suspended. But he said he had been talking with parents since Friday and it is possible some students could have their punishment reduced.
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