CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – A former high school cheerleading coach opened up about losing her job despite a push by parents and students to reinstate her.
Melissa Prochilo, the coach at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, was let go after she was accused of bullying students.
On Tuesday, dozens of cheerleaders and parents showed their support for Prochilo at a Broward County School Board meeting. However, the board decided that Prochilo would only be able to continue to work in the county's schools as a substitute teacher.
"These girls were fine. These girls were happy," said Prochilo. "It hurts so bad. Nobody has ever hated me in my own life."
"What are you going to do? What can you do?" asked Local 10's Bob Norman.
"I don't know. I just want my name cleared," said Prochilo.
For Prochilo, coaching was everything.
"It's all I've done for the last 12 years. It's who I am and I love it so much," she said.
A group of parents accused Prochilo of allowing bullying on the team.
"You never bullied anybody?" asked Norman.
"Never and I never witnessed bullying," said Prochilo.
The principal and school board investigators cleared Prochilo of bullying and 31 other allegations involving booster club funds and other matters.
"Everything was unfounded. The principal stuck up for me," said Prochilo. "Why can't the principal run the school? He knows these girls."
Despite the fact that Prochilo was cleared in two investigations, Broward School Board member Katie Leach took the side of the accusing parents and arranged for them to speak at a board meeting last month.
"They didn't fire me until Miss Leach got involved," said Prochilo.
Shortly after the meeting, Prochilo lost her job.
"I think Mr. Runcie got railroaded politically into making his decision," said Prochilo. "I feel sorry for every coach, every teacher and every principal when the superintendent of the school board doesn't stand up for what is right."