Prince William County students say they were suspended for controversial dance performance

- A high school dance team in Prince William County is crying foul after they said they were suspended for performing a routine school administrators felt crossed the line.

The performance took place Tuesday at Potomac High School and students on the Cause I'm African dance team said their dance paid tribute to their African roots.

However, the part of the performance in question includes what is being described as a lap dance. We are told the routine was performed beforehand for administrators, but without chairs. That version was reportedly approved, but when the students added chairs to the performance, it looked different than what was rehearsed.

This has led to a one-day suspension for all 25 members and the group said it is banned from participating in school-sponsored functions for a year. In addition, one of the members said the team's senior students will not be allowed to walk for graduation or attend prom.

“As soon as the show was over on May 1st, we were hearing complaints that the administrative team did not like our dance at all,” said junior student Ibrahim Sesay. “Calling our whole performance nasty, calling us a disgrace to African culture, picking fights with one of our students and they were just attacking us and our whole performance.”

Sesay said the routine was performed on International Night hosted by the school’s African Student Association. He also said administrators saw the routine performed beforehand without props.

However, the group said it is still proud of the routine despite the disciplinary action.

Video of part of the performance was posted on Twitter Wednesday morning. FOX 5 showed the video to newly-elected Interim Prince William County School Board Chair Dr. Babur Lateef.

“What you showed me was a quick video and it is the first time I am seeing it so I have no reaction and I have not been notified of any of this,” said Dr. Lateef. “So I can't comment on this.”

The dancers are hoping to generate support for overturning any disciplinary action.

“What I feel and I think it is very important to know that any student concern, any student disciplinary action … it should be highly confidential. That is number one,” said Lateef.

A Prince William County Public Schools spokesperson said in a statement:

"The addition of inappropriate dance moves to the pre-approved dance is totally unacceptable, and the students involved were disciplined according to the Code of Conduct."

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