When Morgyn Arnold joined the cheerleading team at her high school, she was so excited to get involved.
However, when it came time for her to pick up her yearbook, she noticed she hadn’t been included in the group cheer squad picture, despite having sat and taken the picture with them.
Morgyn Arnold is fourteen and has Down’s syndrome and her sister describes her as spunky, caring, and beautiful.
She is also a proud member of the cheerleading team at Shoreline Junior High School in Utah.
“Morgyn is the sweetest,” her sister Jordyn Poll told TODAY Parents, “She is so kind and so forgiving and pure as they come.”
Well, Morgyn and her family were shocked to learn that she had been excluded from the cheer team photo in the 2020-2021 yearbook.
“Think back to your school days — yearbook day was so fun and exciting,”
Morgyn’s sister said she was so excited to receive her yearbook but upon receiving it, she realized right away she had been cut from the photo.
“She came home from school and was showing us her yearbook,” Jordyn explained, “She said ‘There’s my team and there’s my friends and I’m not included.’ She was devastated.”
Jordyn described how the family was so disappointed and wanted to understand why Morgyn had been left out.
In a now-deleted social media post, the concerned sister posted side-by-side photos of the cheer squad, one including Morgyn and one without. She also posted a lengthy caption detailing the family’s pain.
“The first picture you see is a cute junior high cheer team. The second, although similar, includes all members of the team. It’s the SAME cheer team – SAME girls, SAME photoshoot, SAME poses, but one included all team members and one did not.”
“Unfortunately, the first one was posted on the school’s social accounts and in the school yearbook.”
“Additionally, Morgyn’s name wasn’t even mentioned as a part of the team. She wasn’t included. She spent hours learning dances, showing up to games, and cheering on her school and friends but was left out.”
In a statement posted to the school’s Facebook page, Shoreline Junior High School expressed its remorse.
“We are deeply saddened by the mistake that was made,” the statement read.
“We are continuing to look at what has occurred and why it occurred. Apologies have been made to the family and we sincerely apologize to others impacted by this error. We will continue to address it with the parents of the student. We will continue to look at our processes to ensure this does not happen again.”
Both Shoreline Junior High School and the cheerleading squad have since suspended all their social accounts and Jordyn said she hopes Morgyn and their family can one day learn what happened.
“I’m grateful that we raised the awareness so that the school took it seriously,” she said, “They didn’t have any immediate answers, but I’m excited that they are taking the time to now look into it. I hope the answers will continue to come.”
Unfortunately, Jordyn’s post didn’t completely have the desired effect.
The original post sparked nationwide outrage, with over 8,000 likes and 7,000 shares. However, a lot of hate was aimed at the other members of the cheer squad.
“I think this is probably one of the saddest pieces,” Jordyn shared, “There’s been so much hate directed to these other girls and it’s so unnecessary. They are kind and did their very best to include Morgyn and make her feel like she belongs and they continue to do so and continue to reach out and let her know that she is loved. If it was up to them, they would have included her in the photos.”
“My hope is that we can learn from this situation and learn from the mistakes that happened and we can just try a little harder to be a little better.”
Jordyn then said Morgyn has been handling the situation with her trademark kindness.
“I think a lot we can learn from her example. She’s forgiven them and moved on. She’s sad, when she looks at the pictures. Her example speaks a lot, and she’s excited to continue to find memories and continue cheering.”
We hope the school learn a huge lesson from this selfish and discriminatory move and, more importantly, we hope Morgyn will be included in the next cheer squad photo.