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Family says cheerleading advisor refused to work with special needs student

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Seventeen-year-old Glenn Wilson was elated when he was selected as a football cheerleader last spring at West High School.

Family members said four high school officials congratulated Wilson, and welcomed him to the squad.

“It’s good, it’s so fun” Wilson said.

The season got off to a rocky start.

The sophomore’s family said school officials promised a packet with practice schedule and uniform prices would arrive in the mail during summer break.

“I got a call, and said he’d made the squad and said I would be receiving mail, but I never got it” said Wilson’s grandmother, Carolyn Sue Morris.

The family became more concerned when cheerleading camp began, and they still hadn’t received an update.

When loved ones finally reached the cheerleading advisor, they received news they didn’t expect.

“She told me that Glenn wasn’t part of the team, and I asked why, she said he didn’t fit the image that she wanted for her squad. I said why did you take him off the team, that’s when she said she’s never dealt with special needs children before, and didn’t have experience with special needs, and therefore, she removed him from the team” said Wilson’s uncle Ray Valentine.

Valentine said his nephew, who has Down’s Syndrome, had always wanted to be a cheerleader, and is an honors student.

Now he worries about Wilson, who has aspirations of becoming president.

“At first, he was traumatized, his feelings were hurt, he was upset” Valentine added.

Since the ordeal, Valentine said the school’s assistant principal has been working on cheering routines with the teen who’s already cheered at two games.

Valentine attended Tuesday evenings Columbus city school board meeting to express his concerns.

“They were speechless, mouths were dropping, they couldn’t believe what I was saying” Valentine added.

Columbus City School’s spokesperson Scott Varner said mistakes were made, and the case is being investigated.

He assured Wilson is a full-fledged member of the cheerleading squad.

He added the cheerleading advisor, who’s an employee of the school district, remains in their current role.



Tyler Barker

Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com


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