Cheerleader with Down Syndrome waiting for school's decision

Deer Park cheerleader Brittany Davila
September 27, 2013 4:00:09 AM PDT
It's a story that's still getting a lot of attention -- freshman Brittany Davila, a cheerleader at Deer Park High School who was told she couldn't be on the sidelines anymore because having Down Syndrome made her a liability. And while it looks like there will be a resolution, we still have some questions about how this was all handled.

Brittany has been a cheerleader for years ? first for her junior high and now for Deer Park High School. Her mother has met with school district officials and she says they've come to agree that they will reach a final agreement within the next week. But we're taking a closer look into Brittany's legal rights.

Brittany Davila, 16, is about to put her weeks of practice to good use. Her mom says she'll be cheering at Deer Park's next home game.

"I don't think it's anymore unsafe to have her down there than anybody else," said Brittany's mom Buffy Davila.

Buffy turned to Eyewitness News on Wednesday. She claimed the school district called her daughter a liability, saying Brittany was endangering herself and her teammates by cheering on the sidelines of games.

"Whenever Brittany is with them, they're concerned about her," Davila said. "I appreciate the girls being concerned for her safety, but they're more focused on her than what they're supposed to be doing themselves."

Davila is now working with district officials to come up with a plan to keep Brittany cheering safely. She's satisfied, but attorney Sarah Frazier says the district still has a lot of explaining to do.

"There's always that possibility that somebody who looks a little different or plays a little differently is going to attract attention," Frazier said. "That sort of stigma is exactly what the ADA was meant to protect against."

She says the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the district to make reasonable accommodations for students like Brittany, who have proven they have the ability to participate.

"Reasonable accommodations can get very creative," Frazier explained. "There may be another place for all of the cheerleaders to stand to cheer from."

Davila said, "They might look a little bit different but they all want to do the same thing - they all want to be accepted for who they are."

Deer Park officials have told Eyewitness News that they want to do whatever it takes to keep Brittany cheering safely. Unfortunately, they have not released much information, they say due to privacy concerns. At this point Brittany and her mother are both waiting to see what will be decided in the next week.

Find Pooja on Facebook at PoojaLodhia-Reporter or on Twitter at @impoojalodhia

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