Cheerleading Coach Tells Down Syndrome Teen She's a Liability

cheerleadersReady for your what were they thinking moment of the day? A high school cheerleader with Down syndrome has her pom poms back after her mom fought tooth and nail with a school that had labeled the 16-year-old a liability. What's so dangerous about having Brittany Davila suit up to cheer on her school's volleyball team?

Well, apparently when she showed up for the second game of the season, Brittany was wearing the wrong uniform.

Oh. My. Gawd. Can you believe it? A kid actually made a mistake? Call out the National Guard! Alert the media!

Get that kid out of the gymnasium before it explodes!


Yes, oh Internet readers, that was sarcasm. 

So a kid showed up in the wrong uniform, and the coach decided that was a reason to worry about her safety on the sidelines? Can you imagine that being the response to any kid who DIDN'T have Down syndrome?

Me neither.

When it comes to kids with special needs, people seem to choose one extreme or the other. Either they treat these kids like they can't possibly do anything their "normal" peers can do, or they go the other direction and hold them to impossibly high standards, standards the other kids would never be held to. When they can't meet them, they blame it on the special need.

Why? Why can't we just treat these kids as kids? Hold them to the same standards as their peers?

I'm not saying kids with special needs shouldn't get a break now and then, but I think a lot of people sell these children short. If they'd just give them a chance, they will probably be surprised.

In Brittany Davila's case, she'd been cheering for years, first in junior high and now at her high school. As her mom said, she couldn't do the stunts, but she could definitely do the cheers. And by standing on the sidelines, she was at no more risk of being hurt by a stray ball or tackling football player than any other kid.

Brittany's mom went to bat for her and got the school to listen to reason. She's got a permanent spot back on the squad.

Give me an M! Give me an O! Give me another M! Goooo Mom!

It's just too bad that her little girl had to go through this, but hopefully it will teach other folks that holding kids with special needs to a higher standard just so you can find an excuse to revoke privileges is unacceptable.

Has your child ever been in a situation like this? What happened?


Image via Katie Dunlap/Flickr

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