Utah School Under Fire After Leaving Student with Down Syndrome Out of Cheerleading Team Photo, Claims it was a 'Mistake'

The image without the student was the one published on the school's social media page and the official yearbook.

The cheerleading squad at a school in Layton, Utah, is facing backlash on social media after they left out a student with Down syndrome from their official team portraits.

The Shoreline Junior High School cheerleading team took two yearbook photos this year, one with 14-year-old Morgyn Arnold, who worked as the cheer team's manager, and another with all the other girls, except Arnold, who was noticeably missing from her spot in the front row. The school later used the second picture to share on social media and for the school's official yearbook.

Jordyn Poll, Arnold's sister, shared both images on Facebook. "The first picture you see is a cute junior high cheer team. The second, although similar, includes all members of the team," she captioned the images. "It's the SAME cheer team–SAME girls, SAME photo shoot, SAME poses, but one included all team members and one did not.

Shoreline Junior High Cheerleading Team Photo
The image with Arnold (left) and the one that made it to the school's social media page and the yearbook Facebook

"Unfortunately, the first one was posted on the school's social accounts and in the school yearbook," she added. 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."

Social Media Reactions

The Facebook post instantly went viral, garnering thousands of shares and comments with social media users slamming the school over the exclusion.

"I would like to see a photo of all the administrators with RESIGNED next to each name. Shameful behavior. Repugnant," a user wrote.

"There should have never been a picture taken without her," commented another.

The looks on the girls faces in the picture with Morgyn tells me they knew that one would never make it to the yearbook," opined yet another.

School Issues Apology, Claims it was a 'Mistake'

In the wake of the backlash, Shoreline Junior High School released a statement on its Facebook page that has since been deleted.

"We are deeply saddened by the mistake that was made," the statement read. "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."

However, Poll noted in her Facebook post that this was the second time in three years that Morgyn had been left out of the yearbook and the school did not even include her in the class list two years ago.