Dave & Dujanovic: No ill will on leaving girl with Down syndrome out of cheerleader photo, sister says
SALT LAKE CITY — The older sister of a girl with disabilities who was left out a yearbook photo of the school’s cheerleaders doesn’t think the move was done with ill will.
Two photos of a cheer squad from Shoreline Junior High School in Davis County show the same group of students. One of them includes eighth-grader Morgyn Arnold but one of them doesn’t.
Morgyn, 14, the manager of the cheerleading squad, has Down syndrome. The absence of Morgyn in the yearbook sparked outrage on various social media platforms.
To discuss the controversy, Morygn’s older sister Jordyn Poll joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic.
“I think the first and most important question is how is Morgyn doing now that this controversy has spun up?” Debbie asked.
Despite the constant coverage, Jordyn says her sister is more than OK.
“Morgyn loves people. Morgyn is continually looking for ways to just show people that she loves them and continues to have her spunk and her fun personality. Morgyn’s doing very well,” Jordyn said.
Absence of malice
A lingering question still remains: was the exclusion of Morgyn intentional?
“Set the scene for our listeners who haven’t seen the photo, Jordan as her sister,” Debbie said. “Morgyn was included in one photo in the middle, but then excluded in the other. Do you know if the person taking the photo asked her to get out of the photo or how that happened that there were two pictures taken?”
“I don’t know why there were the two photos. But I do not think that it was malicious. And I do not think that anybody meant any ill intent anywhere,” Jordyn said.
The school district says they’re investigating the incident, however, no answers have come from it so far.
“Was Morgyn a member of the cheer squad or was she a team manager?” Dave asked.
“Morgyn was invited to participate on the cheer squad after she submitted a tryout video. She was invited to be a manager for the cheer squad and to cheer with the girls at all of the home games,” Jordyn said.
Be better and be kinder
“I think the real question we all want answered was do you feel like she was excluded because of her special needs? Or do you think it was one of those things where it’s like, oh, well, this is just maybe the conventional cheer squad, the official members of the team?” Dave asked.
Even though the omission of her sister from the yearbook emotionally impacted Jordyn, she says this is a good reminder to consider thoughtfulness.
“I think, at the end of the day, and I said this several times,” Jordyn said, “I don’t think anybody was maliciously trying to hurt her. I don’t think anybody was intentional and saying, oh, let’s exclude her. But I think the exclusion happened. I want to raise awareness that whether it was an intentional or not, we can all just work to be a little bit better and a little bit kinder.”
Inclusion matters most
“What is your message regarding inclusion?” Debbie asked. “Because I think of all of the things that are coming out of this, no matter what the investigation shows, we’ve got to talk about including.”
“Those girls on the cheer squad did everything they could to include her all year long and to make it as positive of an environment for everybody involved. We can follow their examples of loving and of including because at the end of the day, that’s what matters,” Jordyn said.
“Would you do me a huge favor and give Morgyn a big high-five from Dave and myself?” Debbie asked.
“I will. Thank you for raising awareness and thanks for being kind,” Jordyn said.
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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