Cheerleader With Down Syndrome Thrown Off The Team For Not ‘Fitting Their Image’

2 min

When 17-year-old Glenn Wilson found out he had made his school’s cheerleading team, he was more excited than any other student at tryouts. The teen from West High School had been practicing the cheers and routines for months in order to make it through tryouts. It was a bit more difficult for Wilson, as the teen has down syndrome. Nevertheless, he gave it his all–and succeeded.
Wilson’s uncle, Ray Valentine, told Metro News that when Wilson had gotten the good news:

You would have thought he had just been handed a million dollars and three puppies.

The teen spent the entire summer practicing and memorizing the moves, awaiting the starter kit for the following school year–containing his uniform and schedule. However, Valentine said the kit never arrived. He said:

He kept asking when practice was going to start. At the end of August the cheer supervisor called and said that she didn’t have a spot for him on the team, but that he could be a waterboy. That’s when when I found out he was no longer on the cheer squad. Glenn was sad, but I kept telling him that we were going to get to the bottom of it.

Confused, he contacted West High School to inquire as to what was really going on. It turns out, the coach had made the decision to completely cut Wilson from the squad altogether.

The coach said that she didn’t have any experience in dealing with special-needs students. She also said that he did not fit the image that she wanted to portray of the squad.

After speaking with school officials, the cheer coach agreed to let Wilson participate in some games during the season. However, he was not permitted to attend the squad’s practice sessions.

Metro News

Wilson’s gran and legal guardian, Carolyn Sue Morris, pointed out that when Wilson did participate at games, he knew all the moves–without having to attend practices.

She added:

The kids just love him. During his first game all the girls on the team hollered and clapped for him. It’s unfair, because I’m sure a lot of other children have been discriminated against like he has been.

They’ve just had no one to step up to the plate for them. I love him with all my heart, and he deserves his place on the team.’

Scott Varner, a spokesperson for Columbus City Schools, told Metro News:

‘He is a full member of that cheerleading team. We are looking into the matter to try and understand what had happened.

There may have been some mistakes that were made and we are trying to look into what those mistakes were. He’s just like any other cheerleader on that team, and he is not being excluded in any way.’

However, Wilson’s uncle and gran have both stated that the 17-year-old is still being held back from being a full member of the team, saying:

We won’t give up until the coach is forced to reconsider her position.’

h/t: Metro News.