Morgyn Arnold was the official team manager of the school's cheer squad but the school chose to use the photo that did not have her for the yearbook and promotional materials.
Morgyn Arnold finished her last day of school on a low note after she saw that she wasn't included in her yearbook. The eighth-grader who has Down syndrome was the official team manager of the school's cheer squad. Two versions of photos of the cheer team were taken. One included Morgyn in the middle, surrounded by her squad, in a purple tee and a huge smile. She was not included in the other version. The school had opted for the latter version to include in not just the yearbook but also several promotional materials. The 14-year-old was heartbroken and could not wrap her head around why she was left out, reported NBC News.
Her elder sister, Jordyn Poll, took to Facebook to share this unfair treatment her little sister had to go through. "Everyone knows how it feels to be excluded," Poll stated. "It's never a good feeling, so of course Morgyn was bummed." In the post that has since been removed, she went on to write: "I've sat and thought about what I wanted to say, and honestly nothing I say will ever make this okay. I tend to stay quiet, especially on social media, but I couldn't sit quietly this time." She even attached the two photos of the Shoreline Junior High cheerleading team, one including Morgyn and the one without.
UPDATED: A Utah student with Down syndrome was left out of a photo of her school’s cheerleading squad— Courtney Tanner (@CourtneyLTanner) June 17, 2021
“Morgyn is very intelligent,” the girl's sister told @sltrib. “She knew what happened. She was sad, and she was hurt.”https://t.co/i76Jbz4s7Z pic.twitter.com/CExBlMbVzt
"The first picture you see is a cute junior high cheer team," Poll continued in the post. 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."
The girl's name is Morgyn. Here's what her mom said about the event. The idea that it was a mistake is not credible. Someone thought an atypical child wasn't cute enough (wrong!) and cut them out.— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) June 16, 2021
And it's not the first time they did it. pic.twitter.com/Ocm4nhDAlx
Poll hoped that no one else would "have to experience the heartbreak that comes when the person they love comes home from school devastated and shows them that they're not in the picture with their team. I hope that no one ever has to explain why people deliberately choose to be exclusive." She continued, "There were two photos: one with Morgyn and one without. A choice was made on which photo to submit, a choice made MULTIPLE times, and a choice that excluded Morgyn EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. This is the second time in three years that sweet Morgyn has been left out of the yearbook. Two years ago they didn't even include her in the class list."
Poll's post went viral and was shared on other social media sites as well demanding action be taken against the school. The school has since issued an apology and deleted all of its social media accounts. In the statement, the school stated, as per TODAY: "We are deeply saddened by the mistake that was made. 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."
Being on the junior high cheer squad gave Morgyn Arnold a chance to make friends at a new school. But when the yearbook came out a few weeks ago, Morgyn, who has Down syndrome, was not in the team’s photo or listed as part of the squad. https://t.co/LQPi95duus— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2021
Maddie Campbell, one of Morgyn's teammates wrote that she was heartbroken by the school's blunder. "Watching her cheer would always make me so happy,” she said. Although she could not remember who asked Morgyn to sit one of the photos out, she did remember thinking it was a bizarre request to make. Jeff Arnold, Morgyn’s father told The New York Times, that the family would like to use the situation to raise awareness about the importance of thoughtful inclusion and compassion instead of pointing blame at the school. “If we can find ways so that this doesn’t happen to somebody else, that’s all that we want,” he said. “That’s all that matters because we can’t go back and put her in the yearbook.” He also added that his daughter had graciously forgiven everyone involved.