Parents say cheerleader with Down syndrome forced to cheer in stands

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by DREW KAREDES

KHOU 11 News Houston

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 8:23 PM

DEER PARK, Texas -- A Deer Park family claims their daughter is being kept from participating with her cheerleading squad at games.

Brittany Davila, a freshman at Deer Park High School, recently made the team as an honorary cheerleader.

The 16-year-old lives with Down syndrome but doesn’t let that keep her from pursuing what she loves.

Davila has been practicing since the summer. Her father said she is just now finding out that she can’t be on the sidelines with her squad at games.

“It was heartbreaking to hear that she is a cheerleader, but yet she won’t cheer with any of the other girls,” said father Ruben Davila.

Ruben said the school told him and his wife that it was a “liability” to have his daughter on the sidelines.

“If it’s a liability for her, why wouldn’t it be for anyone else?” Ruben said.

According to Ruben, his daughter showed up at a volleyball game in full uniform on Tuesday when she was told to sit in the stands.

“She didn’t understand what changed from last week to this week,” Ruben said. “She was cheering along with them in the stands. She was excited, waving at them and blowing kisses.”

The Davilas said their daughter has been cheering since junior high and hopes to continue all the way through high school.

Deer Park Independent School District said it could not answers questions about a specific student due to federal law.

Spokesman Matt Lucas issued a brief written statement on Wednesday afternoon. It said in part:

“There are apparently rumors going around that she was cut from the squad, but this is not true. She’s STILL an honorary member of the squad, and we are honored to have her involved in the program.

Several of our high school team members met with the child’s parents this afternoon. Again, while I can’t comment on the specifics of that meeting, I can say that our principal indicated that both sides left with a better understanding of the other’s concerns and position. There was also an agreement to work together to resolve whatever issues might remain.”

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