Cheerleader With Down Syndrome Sidelined for Safety Reasons

Sep 26, 2013 11:48am

A Texas high school has one week to decide whether a cheerleader with Down syndrome can rejoin her squad before the school’s next home game.

Brittany Davila, 16, is an honorary member of Deer Park High School’s cheerleading squad, which means she doesn’t go to competitions or participate in stunts. Now, her mom claims the school won’t let Brittany cheer during games for her own safety.

“She doesn’t understand why they’re telling her she can’t do it,” Buffy Davila told ABC affiliate KTRK. “I don’t know how to explain it to her.”

Brittany has been cheerleading since junior high, KTRK reported. It’s “her favorite thing to do,” according to her mom. Just last week she cheered at her school’s volleyball game.

“Then yesterday we went and it was a different coach, and now she can’t do it because it’s a liability,” Buffy Davila said. “If the volleyball is going to fly off the court and hit somebody, it’s just as likely to hit somebody else as it is to hit her.”

Buffy Davila met with school officials Wednesday night with hopes of getting her daughter back on the squad during games.

“I know she’s ‘different,’ but my whole thing is everybody should be treated the same,” she told KTRK. “If there’s something she can’t do, then she just can’t do it. But don’t tell me she can’t do it without even letting her try.”

A school spokesman said officials are working on guidelines to keep Brittany cheering safely.

“The bottom line is the young lady is still a member of the team,” Deer Park High’s Matt Lucas told KTRK. “She’s still an honorary member of the team. We’re happy to have her in that position.”

The school’s next home game is Oct. 3, and Brittany’s mom hopes to have guidelines in place by then, KTRK reported.

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Brittany Davila is an honorary member of her high school's cheerleading squad. (Image credit: KTRK/ABC News)

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