Cheerleader With Down Syndrome Returns to the Field
A Texas cheerleader with Down syndrome has rejoined her squad after being sidelined for what her school initially claimed were safety reasons.
Brittany Davila, 16, is an honorary member of the Deer Park High School cheerleading squad, which means she doesn't go to competitions or participate in stunts. But in late September, she was told she had to cheer from the stands rather than on the field or court during games.
"I know she's 'different,' but my whole thing is everybody should be treated the same," Brittany's mom, Buffy Davila, told ABC affiliate KTRK at the time. "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."
In a statement posted on the school's website, officials said "an agreement was reached" with the Davilas that meant "the school can continue including the student in the cheer program in a way that meets the expectations of both the parents and the District."
"We admit there were some miscommunications," Deer Park Independent School District spokesman Matt Lucas told KTRK. "But the fact that when we were finally able to meet with the family, everything was resolved in about five minutes, that really says a lot about how far apart we were."
Brittany has been cheerleading since junior high, KTRK reported. It's "her favorite thing to do," according to her mom. And thanks to the agreement, she was back on the field for her school's home football game Thursday.
"She was a little nervous when we were walking up here," Buffy Davila said at the game. "But now that she's down there, she's in her groove, I guess."
With Brittany back, her fellow cheerleaders are in their groove, too.
"She helps us stay on track. If we are talking she's like, 'Get in line,'" Deer Park cheerleader Sara Washington told KTRK. "She's perfect for this, this is what she was made to do."