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Cannon Falls lets dance coach go

By Joe Brown and

John R. Russett

After an incident during a team-bonding lock-in at Cannon Falls High School, Madi Salisbury is out as the head coach of the Bombers Dance Team.

During Monday’s meeting, the Cannon Falls School Board voted not to renew Salisbury’s annual contract after violations of the school’s weapons and hazing policies stemming from the team’s lock-in on July 25.

“We had a thorough investigation done,” Cannon Falls Athletics/Activities Director Jake Winchell said Tuesday afternoon. “We did 10 straight days of nothing but investigating this incident and (board members) based their decision off of that.”

Supt. Beth Giese said someone brought “a lookalike play gun” onto school grounds.

Both the school’s weapons and hazing policies state that the school district will “act to enforce this policy and to discipline or take appropriate action against any student, teacher, administrator, school employee, volunteer or member of the public who violates this policy.”

Winchell said the school is moving forward in the process of finding a new dance team coach.

“The position was posted today,” Winchell said. “Costumes were in the midst of being made, and music is in the midst of being prepared, so we’re moving forward with (the upcoming dance team season). We’ll get someone in place as soon as possible.”

Salisbury was named the Bomber Dance Team head coach during the 2010-11 season. In her tenure, the Bombers have gone to state in all four years, winning Class 1A High Kick Division titles in 2011 and 2013. This past winter, the Cannon Falls high kick team placed third after being moved to Class 2A.

One of the most successful programs at Cannon Falls, the Bomber Dance Team has won a total of six state Class 1A High Kick Division titles, with four second-place finishes.

“You feel bad for everyone involved,” Winchell said. “You feel bad for Madi and you feel bad for the dancers with only two months before the start of the season.”

Salisbury, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, has 15 days to appeal the School Board’s ruling.

Giese said Tuesday that Salisbury has indicated she will exercise that option.