Two Team Photos, One Difference: The Cheerleader With Down Syndrome

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U.S.|Two Team Photos, One Difference: The Cheerleader With Down Syndrome

A inferior precocious cheerleading squad took astir identical photos with and without Morgyn Arnold. The schoolhouse called the work of the photograph without her a mistake that is nether investigation.

June 16, 2021

Morgyn Arnold is simply a earthy cheerleader. She grew up supporting her six older siblings astatine sporting events successful Utah and followed successful her father’s and sister’s footsteps by becoming a cheerleader herself.

For Morgyn, who has Down syndrome, being connected the Shoreline Junior High School cheer squad gave her a accidental to marque friends and consciousness included aft transferring to the schoolhouse past summer.

But erstwhile the schoolhouse yearbook came retired a fewer weeks ago, Morgyn, 14, was not successful the team’s photograph oregon listed arsenic portion of the squad. The schoolhouse has since apologized for what it called an “error,” but Morgyn’s sister Jordyn Poll said she believed that the exclusion was intentional.



Mrs. Poll, 25, described connected Facebook this week however 2 astir identical photos were taken during the team’s photograph shoot: 1 with Morgyn and 1 without. The photograph without Morgyn was utilized for the yearbook and schoolhouse societal media accounts.

“We recovered retired erstwhile Morgyn came location from schoolhouse with her yearbook and she was devastated,” she said. “Watching her consciousness that and watching her spot that broke my heart.”

The contention is lone the latest successful a drawstring of dust-ups implicit yearbooks. Students and parents demanded an apology aft a Florida precocious schoolhouse altered photos of dozens of girls to screen much of their chests, and yearbooks successful Florida, Texas and North Carolina drew backlash for their sum of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Shoreline Junior High School, which is successful Layton, northbound of Salt Lake City, posted a nationalist apology to Morgyn’s household and “all others impacted by the error” connected its Facebook leafage connected Tuesday.

School employees progressive with the cheer squad did not reply to requests for comment. But Shauna Lund, the assemblage relations supervisor for the Davis School District, told The New York Times that the incidental was nether probe and that the schoolhouse planned to enactment with the household to “ensure that this does not hap again.”

“We are profoundly saddened by the mistake that was made,” Ms. Lund said. “We are continuing to look astatine what has occurred and wherefore it occurred.”

Morgyn’s father, Jeff Arnold, said that alternatively of pointing blasted astatine the school, helium wanted to usage the concern to rise consciousness astir the value of thoughtful inclusion and compassion.

“If we tin find ways truthful that this doesn’t hap to idiosyncratic else, that’s each that we want,” Mr. Arnold said. “That’s each that matters, due to the fact that we can’t spell backmost and enactment her successful the yearbook.”

Morgyn’s household did not privation her to talk straight with The Times due to the fact that of concerns implicit online harassment. But according to Mrs. Poll, Morgyn has already forgiven everyone involved.

She said her sister had a affirmative acquisition connected the team, wherever she spent hours learning dances, attending games and cheering connected classmates.

“Those girls loved her. Those girls tried to bash everything that they could to beryllium inclusive to her and beryllium benignant to her,” Mrs. Poll said. “It’s not precise often that radical see her.”

One of Morgyn’s teammates, Maddie Campbell, 15, wrote that the squad was “heartbroken” to find retired she was not included connected the yearbook page. “Watching her cheer would ever marque maine truthful happy,” she wrote.

Maddie said she did not retrieve whether the lensman oregon the team’s advisor asked Morgyn to beryllium retired of immoderate of the team’s photos, and does not callback receiving an mentation for the action. She thought it was a weird petition astatine the time, she said.

Morgyn, who has cheered her full life, often practices by singing and dancing astir the house. One of her favourite cheers involves asking fans successful the stands to shingle their booty.

Mrs. Poll described her sister arsenic a sassy, spunky teen with a large heart. “She is simply a idiosyncratic cheerleader with everyone she comes successful interaction with,” she said.

Going forward, Mrs. Poll said she would emotion to spot students with developmental disabilities person much opportunities to get progressive with their classmates, alternatively than being “tucked distant successful the peculiar needs room.” She besides wants radical to recognize that conscionable due to the fact that idiosyncratic is antithetic does not mean their worth is different.

Since the yearbook photograph garnered nationalist attention, Mr. Arnold said helium had work hundreds of messages with akin stories astir children — some with and without disabilities — being near out.

“This is astir however bash we bash amended for everybody, not conscionable for Morgyn,” Mr. Arnold said.

And adjacent schoolhouse year, helium said, Morgyn plans to proceed cheerleading alongside her friends.

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