Players Stand Up For Bullied Cheerleader
A group of middle school boys in Kenosha, Wisconsin were in the middle of a basketball game last year when they heard one of the team’s cheerleaders being bullied from the stands.
The cheerleader, Desiree Andrews, has Down Syndrome. She didn’t look like the other cheerleaders and she often danced her own choreography.
Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that comes with low muscle tone, a smaller stature, and learning challenges.
Desiree wanted to become a cheerleader when she saw a cheerleader with Down Syndrome on the TV show Glee. Desiree thought, “If she can be a cheerleader, I can be a cheerleader.”
Desiree’s father, Cliff Andrews, was upset when he saw what was happening during the game. Desiree hugged her father saying, “Papa, it’s OK. I still love them even if they don’t like me,” NPR.org reported.
One of the players walked over to the hecklers during the game and said, “Don’t mess with her.” Then other players in the team came to show their support.
“We walked off the court and went to the bullies and told them to stop because that’s not right to be mean to another person,” said Miles Rodriguez, one of the players, in an interview with Fox & Friends .
Since then, the players and Desiree have become friends. The boys are now in 8th grade and they played their last middle school basketball home game this week.
But the incident and the spirit of that evening hasn’t been forgotten.
The gym was recently renamed “D’s House” in honor of Desiree. And the players received a youth citizenship award last night from the town’s city council.
They’re also up for the mayor’s Youth Award in their town.
And they all learned a valuable lesson that day that will go with them far beyond the school’s walls and into life. Player Scooter Terrien summed it up: “Always stand up for your friends and protect one another.”