Madi Salisbury was recently let go by the Cannon Falls School Board in Minnesota over an incident involving toy cap guns.
Salisbury, who led a successful dance program that won six state titles, had strong support from her students and the community during a school board meeting on Monday (video below).
However, the dance teacher was not allowed to speak in her own defense during the meeting.
"We take our weapons policy and the Minnesota State High School League's policy very seriously," Cannon Falls Superintendent Beth Giese told PostBulletin.com. "All decisions were based on that. We've got to support this policy. We have to protect the girls."
However, there were no actual weapons involved during the July 25 incident at Cannon Falls High School.
During an overnight lock-in the school auditorium, Salisbury planned for scary music to play, the lights to turn off and for some coaches to scare the student dancers. A scene that has played out in camps and schools for decades.
However, an unidentified teacher brought in some toy cap guns, which were set off. Salisbury was not in the school auditorium when that part happened, but quickly stopped it when she heard some children screaming.
"I did not have prior knowledge of the guns," Salisbury told PostBulletin.com. "I did not know they were being brought out. I want to be very clear, the coaches planned this to jump out and scare the girls. It was taken to a different level under advisement of someone not even on staff. It wasn't intended to go the route it did."
The school board voted in a secret closed session not to renew the dance teacher's contract.
According to MyFoxTwinCities.com, the unidentified teacher who was responsible for the toy cap guns was also let go.
"We're talking about 53 high school and middle school girls who just lost their mama bear," added Salisbury. "They're really hurt. They're the ones being punished. They're the ones who have to pick up the pieces. I have to step back and think about what is best for the girls and the program. I don't want this to continue to negatively affect them."