Mom: School told Down Syndrome cheerleader she's 'liability'
DEER PARK, TX (KTRK) -- She's one of her team's biggest fans. A high school cheerleader in Deer Park who has overcome so much in her life, living with Down Syndrome. Now her family wants answers after they say she was told to move away from the sidelines at their last game.
Freshman Brittany Davila, 16, has Down Syndrome. But she's been a cheerleader for years, first for her junior high, and now for Deer Park High School.
"That's her favorite thing to do," said Brittany's mother, Buffy Davila. "She doesn't understand why they're telling her she can't do it. I don't know how to explain it to her."
Davila turned to Eyewitness News after she says Deer Park officials complained.
"She cheered last week at the volleyball game," said Davila. "Then yesterday we went and it was a different coach, and now she can't do it because it's a liability."
Davila claims school officials will no longer allow Brittany to cheer while players are on the field or court.
She 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. It flew into the stands yesterday and hit people who were sitting there."
Deer Park officials aren't saying much yet, but are meeting with the family.
"There have been ongoing discussions with the mother," said Deer Park ISD spokesperson Matt Lucas. "Essentially, the bottom line is the young lady is still a member of the team. She's still an honorary member of the team."
Late Wednesday afternoon, Davila met with school officials and they agreed to work on guidelines to keep Brittany cheering safely. District officials told Eyewitness News, "A commitment to work together was made."
On Thursday, the Deer Park school district posted the following statement on their website:
- "Yesterday, members of the local news media reported about an honorary cheerleader at Deer Park High School. It's important to note that there is always more than one side to any story. However, federal law prevents the District from sharing many details about anything involving students, so the District is very limited in what we can share with reporters or members of the public.
Thankfully, our cheer sponsors requested to have a meeting with the parents and District representatives. The meeting took place yesterday afternoon, and it was an opportunity for each side of the issue to share concerns and gain a better understanding of each other's perspective. At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed to work together to resolve whatever issues remain.
Deer Park ISD is proud to have this young lady involved in its cheer program, and we look forward to her continued success as an honorary cheerleader this year."
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