Story at a glance

  • A school in Utah has come under fire after a cheerleader who has Down syndrome was excluded from the team’s yearbook photo.
  • Morgyn Arnold, the 14-year-old team manager of the Shoreline Junior High School’s cheerleading squad, wasn’t in the team photo published in the yearbook, despite there being a photo that included her.
  • The school has issued a statement apologizing for the incident but did not explain how or why the exclusion occurred.

A junior high school in Utah has come under fire after a cheerleader who has Down syndrome was excluded from the team’s yearbook photo.

Morgyn Arnold, the 14-year-old team manager of the Shoreline Junior High School’s cheerleading squad, was “devastated” to find she was left out of the team photo, according to her sister.

“Those girls were so kind to her during the year,” her sister, Jordyn Poll, told KSTU. “Those girls on the squad were her friends … they are her friends … for her to not be included when all was said and done was devastating.”

Two photos taken of the team on the same day show one including Arnold, as well as one without her but with the rest of the team present. The photo without Arnold is the one that appeared in the yearbook.

“Morgyn is very intelligent,” Poll told the Salt Lake City Tribune. “She knew what happened. She was sad, and she was hurt.”


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However, Poll added, her sister has forgiven the incident, something Poll hopes others will take to heart.

“My message is that kindness wins,” Poll said. “We have to be better than this, and we are capable of being better than this.”

The school has issued a statement apologizing for the incident but did not explain how or why the exclusion occurred. 

“Apologies have been made to the family and we sincerely apologize to others impacted by this error,” the statement from Shoreline Junior High School officials read. “We will continue to address it with the parents of the student. We also will continue to look at our processes to ensure this does not happen again.”


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Published on Jun 17, 2021