With the reputation this teacher has for being harsh on her young students it's not surprising to hear that Dance Moms' Abby Lee Miller is being sued for assault on behalf of a former dancer. Paige Hyland, who is 13, previously starred on the show with her sister Brooke and mom Kelly until all three left early in the fourth season. Now she's filed a claim that Miller showcased abusive behavior that still give her panic attacks out of fear for the instructor. It alleges the following:
"[Miller] intentionally engaged in conduct that caused Plaintiff Paige Hyland to reasonably believe that she was about to be touched or harmed in an offensive manner ... Paige Hyland reasonably feared she would be physically injured because she had observed Miller physically batter other people on the show including physically pushing [mother] Kelly Hyland's face, pinching another student until she bled and violently grabbing another student by the arm."
It's not the first time Miller has been sued by the Hylands. Paige's mother, Kelly Hyland, filed a lawsuit in February for being mistreated and "subjected to emotional distress." That case seems to have stalled which is likely why Hyland had her daughter file a separate suit.
Among the incidents in question is when Miller threw a prop chair while Paige was dancing because her mother hadn't had a chance to get rubber stoppers for it yet. (Yes, seriously.)
Miller's teaching style has long been a subject of debate in the dance world because she does produce good dancers like Maddie Ziegler from Sia's music video, who is another member of Miller's dance team. But the methods with which Miller achieves that success are questionable. Having watched the show from the outset, I see the Hylands point. Miller has displayed a lot of behavior over the years which could be considered abusive, and is certainly manipulative of the young dancers. Case in point, these four other examples.
SHE PUNISHES THE CHILDREN FOR WHAT THEIR MOTHERS DO
If one of the dancers mothers mouths off to Miller she'll remove the child from the number. At the end of season 3 she kicked Chloe Lukiasak out of nationals after her mother got into a slight altercation with another Dance Moms mother. It's totally unfait to hold kids responsible for the behaviro of their parents because it's entirely out of their control.
SHE PITS THE CHILDREN AGAINST THEIR MOTHERS
All too often after punishing the girls based on their parents' behavior she'll inform the child that they would be dancing if not for their mom. Once she wouldn't allow Maddie Ziegler to solo for weeks because her mother kept her home from practice one day. Then she blamed Maddie for not going against her mother's wishes and coming to the studio anyway.
That kind of thing certainly could have caused a rift between mother and daughter. Those girls are way too young to be taught to hate their parents like that. Miller is sewing seeds of resentment between parent and child and it's really unfortunate.
SHE'S VERBALLY ABUSIVE
Calling her dancers lazy, stupid, sloppy, etc. is incredibly demoralizing for such young girls. I'm sure they would learn to dance just as well with positive reinforcement, or at least constructive criticism. They're only 8-13 for gosh sakes.
SHE REGULARLY MAKES HER STUDENTS CRY
And more than one of them has had what appears to be a panic attack while filming the show. Here's Paige experiencing one:
And another student Kendall Vertes having a similar anxiety episode.
These are just a handful of examples of Miller's teaching style. Whether the assault accusations Paige has filed will be proven, I don't know. But I do know that based on what the show has featured thus far, this lawsuit definitely has a leg to stand on. Hopefully this will finally force Miller to look at her behavior and reevaluate the way she treats her students and their mothers.