Several players on the Mound Westonka High School boys hockey team were suspended Friday and not allowed to play that night in their section playoff game because they performed the newest viral dance craze, the “Harlem Shake,” during the school lunch hour, according to students and parents.
A group of students, including six hockey players, were recording a video of themselves performing the “Harlem Shake” in the school cafeteria so that they could submit it to be played during a weekly school broadcast and post it on YouTube, according to students.
More students joined in and the dancers jumped onto lunch tables, they said. About two dozen students supposedly took part.
At one point, the school’s activities director, Dion Koltes, reportedly took the video camera the group was using. After the camera was confiscated, administrators reportedly examined the video with police.
Later in the day, hockey players and other students who participated in the dance were suspended and reportedly cited by police for disorderly conduct, according to students.
“I feel like we have good kids and a good program,” said Coach Doug Runke. “There are a lot of good things going on, and I thought this was going to be a good year to make a run at it. Unfortunately, sometimes you get success and sometimes you’ve got to learn some life lessons.”
The suspensions cost the team five skaters and the regular goalie, Runke said. Remaining players had to play on shifts with teammates they hadn’t played with before.
On Friday, Koltes declined to comment and referred questions to Principal Keith Randklev, who did not return calls. Police also couldn’t be reached.
The “Harlem Shake” has become an Internet phenomenon with thousands of YouTube videos of people dancing to the song by New York producer Baauer. This week, Billboard adopted a new standard for ranking songs on its charts, which propelled the “Harlem Shake” to a debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100.
Connor Ehret, a senior at the high school who saw what happened, said he thought the performance was authorized. “Every other school in the area has done it and nothing has happened to them,” he said.
On Friday night, the boys varsity team played Blake School in Minneapolis in a section quarterfinal playoff game. Blake had twice as many players on the bench as Mound Westonka. With five minutes left in the game, students in the Mound Westonka section sarcastically chanted, “Thank you, Dion!” Blake students responded by yelling, “Season’s over!” Blake won 6-4.
After the game, several adults, including a parent of a senior hockey player, confronted Koltes in the stands and yelled, “You have no idea what you did to these kids! No idea!” Another adult yelled to Koltes to “Find a new job!”