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Prank at cheer camp nothing to cheer about

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:52 PM

MONROEVILLE— An incident at a July cheerleading camp attended by Monroeville High School students was hardly anything to cheer about. To that, all involved parties agree. However, they view the situation differently.

According to two accounts, the following happened on July 17, the first day of the  four-day camp at Denison College in Granville: Two male counselors from the organization that runs the camp, Cheer Ohio,  entered the sophomore girls’ dorm with some Monroeville seniors.

The younger girls were told there was a “Code Yellow” in effect because there was a gunman on campus. Therefore, the sophomores were told they should follow the counselors and older students into an isolated room and remain until further notice. One of the sophomore girls asked where their advisors were, and was told they were in a meeting with Cheer Ohio officials discussing the “gunman.”

A couple of the sophomores began to cry, believing the threat to be real. Then, at one point, one of the senior girls announced it was all a prank, which was confirmed by Cheer Ohio counselors.

Some of the sophomores said they did not think the prank was funny at all.

Two parents of Monroeville High School students contacted the Reflector this week about the incident. One of them said her daughter was “really upset,” and the mother met with Monroeville Jr. High/High School Principal David Stubblebine and Superintendent Carol Girton on Monday. The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was told Stubblebine placed a disciplinary letter in the file of cheerleading head coach Amanda Kreps.

Stubblebine said Kreps exercised poor judgment in that she knew the prank was transpiring, yet she allowed it to continue.

The letter of reprimand reads, in part: “Although you did not initiate or take part in the incident, you were aware and did not take steps to stop it.

“Your lack of action in this incident has caused great emotional stress among the cheerleaders and their parents, and has damaged the trust that those students and parents have in your leadership ability.

“I expect there will be no similar lapses in judgment, and that you will work to re-establish trust between yourself and the students and their parents. Should there be further incidents in which poor judgment is displayed, you will be subjected to further disciplinary action.”

“That is one of the harshest letters I’ve written to an employee,” Stubblebine said.

The parent said she and other parents felt Kreps should not have been hired because, at 22, she was too young. She said the incident at Denison College just confirms that.

Stubblebine countered that Kreps was in the Army, serving in Afghanistan from July 2003 to September 2005.

“I think that speaks to her maturity,” he said. Stubblebine added that when he met with Kreps in his office, she took responsibility for her inaction. The seniors who were in on the prank apologized as well, Stubblebine said.

Stubblebine countered that Kreps was in the Army, serving in Afghanistan from July 2003 to September 2005.

“I think that speaks to her maturity,” he said. Stubblebine added that when he met with Kreps in his office, she took responsibility for her inaction. The seniors who were in on the prank apologized as well, Stubblebine said.

Kreps said she regrets what happened.

“I made a bad judgment call on allowing the incident to occur and I’m very sorry if I upset anyone,” she said, adding that in hindsight she wouldn’t have done it. “Nothing like that will ever happen again.”

Stubblebine said no further action will be taken unless Kreps makes “similar lapses in judgment.”

“I believe in giving second chances, I think it’s the charitable thing to do,” he said.

Stubblebine said Cheer Ohio staff promised him there would be no more pranks played — regardless of how harmless they may seem. So, he will continue to send cheerleaders to their camp.

Lenee' Buchman, the person listed as a contact for Cheer Ohio camps, did not return a call seeking comment.

Stubblebine said counselors told him the prank was played in a theatrical manner. He added one student told him she could not imagine anybody would have perceived the “threat” as authentic. In fact, he said one of the girls crying was play acting because she was in on the prank. Still, Stubblebine said he is in no way condoning what happened.

“It was inappropriate,” he said. “In the days we’re living in it’s not funny, it’s inappropriate.”

Girton said she doesn’t condone the prank either. She commended Stubblebine for his handling of the matter. “I think Mr. Stubblebine handled the situation very well,” she said.

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