Parents: Daughter With Down Syndrome Not Allowed To Cheer - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

Parents: Daughter With Down Syndrome Not Allowed To Cheer

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MARION, Ohio -

The parents of a student in the Elgin School District say school leaders will not allow their child to participate in the cheerleading program because she has Down Syndrome.

Fourteen-year-old Alli Williams was born with Down Syndrome and stop speaking when she was in elementary school but they say one thing helped her come out of her shell: cheerleading.

Alli cheered on the field from fourth to sixth grade, but she was not permitted to join the middle school team.

So they tried to find a way that she could participate when she goes to high school in the fall.

Holding back tears, Alli's mom, Robin Williams, expresses a wish that many parents have for their children, "She's already gone through so much. And we just want her to have that sense of belonging." 

The Williams wanted Alli to be able to join the other girls out on the field as an honorary cheerleader for one or two cheers or even a cheer manager. 

"We didn't want her to take a spot away from the typical cheerleaders. We just wanted her to just to feel like she belongs," Robin admitted.

Alli's parents say the school district and athletic director told them it wouldn't be fair to the other students who didn't make the team and she could try out but would not meet the minimum requirements. 

"They secured an attorney to fight us on asking for Alli to be a cheer manager," Robin shares shaking her head, "I think it's ignorance. I think that they may possibly even be embarrassed that they would have a child out there with a disability."

NBC4 reached out to the superintendent of Elgin schools to get their side of the story but a rep said the district could not comment because they have sought legal counsel in the matter. We offered to interview the districts lawyer but they never returned our phone call.

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