HARLEM SHAKE: Mound-Westonka students say teachers approved - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

HARLEM SHAKE: Suspended Mound-Westonka students say teachers approved

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Suspended Mound-Westonka hockey players spent their day away from school with a game of pond hockey. Photo by Scott Wasserman / FOX 9 News Suspended Mound-Westonka hockey players spent their day away from school with a game of pond hockey. Photo by Scott Wasserman / FOX 9 News
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    HARLEM SHAKE: Mound-Westonka athletic director placed on leave

    Tuesday, February 26 2013 8:18 AM EST2013-02-26 13:18:52 GMT
    The Westonka Public School District responded to outrage over a series of suspensions by formally apologizing for the discipline, launching an investigation and putting the athletic director on adminitrative leave.
    The Westonka Public School District is responding to outrage over a series of suspensions by formally apologizing for the discipline, launching an investigation and placing the Mound-Westonka High School athletic director on administrative leave.
MOUND, Minn. (KMSP) -

Six varsity hockey players from Mound-Westonka High School were suspended hours before a critical playoff matchup Friday night after participating in Internet video sensation "The Harlem Shake" on school grounds.

One suspended Mound-Westonka senior told FOX 9 he couldn't believe a video that was approved by teachers caused such a stir. The players are sticking together and spent their suspensions playing pond hockey on Monday.

Parents remained furious even after school officials called for reduced punishment for the students, the Star Tribune reported. The original punishment called for a two-day suspension and also included $75 police-issued tickets, which parents asked to be rescinded. 

After the backlash began, school officials shortened the suspension to one day. Though Principal Keith Randklev defended the discipline, he confirmed the school would ask also police to rescind the citations.

By 4 p.m. on Monday, the Minnetrista Public Safety Department confirmed all disorderly conduct citations would be dropped following a request from Superintendent Kevin Borg.

The suddenly short-handed Mound Westonka hockey team fell Friday night to unexpected victor Blake, adding to the collective anger since the loss effectively ends the high school career for the seniors.

The students -- six hockey players and two swimmers -- danced in their own version of "The Harlem Shake" on school lunchroom tables and chairs as part of a class project.

Jack Brandsetter told FOX 9 News about 30 people participated in the performance on Friday, adding that the video's creation was approved and supervised by teachers.

"I don't feel like we did anything wrong," he said.

Shortly thereafter however, he and the others were suspended and ticketed. 

"They said we engaged in riot-like activity and engaged in a mob, which is completely false," Brandsetter said.

One mother told FOX 9 News she was told that she would understand why her son was suspended once she saw the video -- but she has and still doesn't get it. She, and several seniors who missed their final hockey game, are demanding answers. Parents with lawyers in tow are expected to attend Monday night's regularly scheduled school board meeting at 7 p.m.

Hundreds of original 'Harlem Shake' videos have made their way to YouTube and garnered thousands of views, each featuring erratic dance moves and an equally erratic soundtrack.

In fact, two similar videos have been filmed at other metro schools. In Burnsville, no one was suspended. In Eden Prairie, a table was lifted, but it is unclear whether any students faced consequences.

The district indicated that students violated school policies during the performance, but parents claim the punishment didn't match the crime. Parents have called for a dismissal of the administrators who authorized the sanctions, which will be further discussed at Monday night's school board meeting.

While most board meetings take place at the Educational Service Center on Sunnyfield Road, there is so much outrage that the 7 p.m. meeting will be held at the school's theater to accommodate the amount of participants. 

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