A Utah high school that took two official photos of its cheer team did not include the 14-year-old team member with Down syndrome in one of these photos, choosing to use that image in its yearbook and on social media, according to reports. .
Morgyn Arnold, a member of the Shoreline High School cheerleading team, had been the team manager and “knew all the routines by heart,” said the Salt Lake Tribune. reported. In the photo that included Arnold, she was sitting in the front row, while in the second image she was clearly absent.
Arnold’s older sister, Jordyn Poll, said Morgyn was dejected when she looked at the yearbook that, according to the New York Times, It came out several weeks ago .. Arnold’s name was not included either. Poll reportedly said that he thought this decision was due to his brother’s disability.
“Morgyn is very smart,” Poll told the Salt Lake Tribune. “She knew what happened. I was sad and hurt. “
Poll also commented in now-private social media posts that Arnold had “spent hours learning dances, attending games and cheering on his school and friends, but he stayed out. I hope no one has to experience the heartbreak that comes when the person they love comes home from school devastated and shows them that they are not in their team’s image. “
Poll alleged that Shoreline had “deliberately chosen to choose to be exclusive,” according to the newspaper. He also claimed it was the second case in three years in which Arnold was excluded from a school yearbook. Shoreline did not include Arnold on the class list two years ago, Poll said.
A spokesperson for the school district said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the mistake that was made. We continue to analyze what has happened and why it happened.
“Apologies have been made to the family and we sincerely apologize to others affected by this mistake. We will continue to address this with the student’s parents. We will continue to analyze our processes to ensure this does not happen again. “
Poll claimed, however, that Shoreline had no regrets when Arnold’s family contacted them. Instead, a member of the school staff “said blatantly that they did not know what we expected of them and that there was nothing they could do,” Poll was quoted as saying in the newspaper. She noted that the school had called Arnold’s family on Wednesday night and they were trying to “fix the situation.”
While some on social media questioned the other cheerleaders, Arnold’s family urged people to stop “embarrassing, intimidating and threatening them,” noting that they had no role in the selection of this photo. “Those girls are nothing short of amazing,” Poll commented. “They love Morgyn. They have done everything they can to help her and make her feel included. They have feelings too. “
Poll told the Tribune that Arnold doesn’t want to discuss the issue; The New York Times reported that her family said they did not want her to speak directly to the newspaper, citing concerns about online harassment. Poll said that Arnold had decided to forgive whoever was involved.
“Morgyn is the most forgiving person,” he commented. “We can all just try to follow suit.”
Arnold, who will be in the ninth grade next year, has yet to make a decision whether he wants to go back to work as a team cheerleader. If Arnold chooses not to, Poll said, she “will always find ways to keep cheering on her friends and her school. Morgyn looks for ways to cheer up everyone around her. “
Arnold’s father told the New York Times that he planned to continue cheering with his friends.