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Muskegon area cheerleaders suspended after fight at school

1:17 PM, May 11, 2010   |    comments
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Image from video of the attack.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) - A confrontation among a group of cheerleaders, turns into an assault at a Muskegon County high school.   The confrontation took place at Reeths Puffer High School and was caught on another student's cell phone.  Now, two of the girls are facing criminal charges.

It all started as an argument between one of the cheerleaders and a few of her teammates. "It's heartwrenching," says Dot McGarey.  Her 14-year old daughter, Courtney, was the one assaulted.  "And these girls have been friends for a very long time."

McGarey says the friendships started to go bad when Courtney started spending more time with her boyfriend and less time with her best friends.  "And the girls kind of went their separate ways and started hanging out with different groups of people."

Eventually, there were rumors about some of the girls being on drugs and alcohol.  Courtney was accused of making-up the allegations.  One of the girls responded on MySpace.  "Very negative.  A lot of cussing, swearing."

The next day, the confrontation happened in the hall.  It was recorded on a cell phone.  It turns off after 22 seconds, but it was enough for the Muskegon County Prosecutor to file criminal charges.  In the police report, the girls are also accused of giving their phone to a friend, so she could record the fight.

Debbie Yore, one of the parents whose daughter was not involved in the confrontation, says the charges are unfair.  "I'm not saying it's right.  I'm saying the reason for the fight was wrong, cause it's about spreading rumors about my daughter and another girl."

The parents of the two girls who were charged did not want their daughters identified.  The girls were also suspended for 40 days.  Yore says, "They don't have a history, they have excellent GPA's, good athletes, they should be in school."

As for Courtney, she was not charged or suspended.  And ever since the confrontation, her mom says they've been verbally attacked.  They want it all to end.

The parents of the two girls have requested a hearing Monday night before the school board to see if they can get the suspension shortened.  The school district told WZZM 13 News that it's policy states that anyone who assaults another student could face up to 180 days of suspension.

By Sarah Sell

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