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Girl With Down Syndrome, Not Allowed to Cheer, Gets Support
DAYTON -- Allison Williams, a 14 year old with Down syndrome, is now getting a lot of support.
The teen was told she wasn't allowed to cheer at Elgin High School in Marion because of her disability.
The Dayton Panthers Cheer Team thought that wasn't right.
"We want Alli to be on our team and we're thankful for her," Panther Alyssa Osterday told ABC 22/FOX 45 reporter Chelby Kosto.
"She is such a sweet girl and everyone deserves a chance," Panthers coach April Clark said.
The Panthers offered Alli a spot on their team to show her they are behind her 100 percent.
"Come on Allison, let's hear it, we've got Panther spirit!" They all chanted.
Wednesday, Allison and her parents got to meet the Panthers for the first time.
"I think you girls are amazing. We want to thank you so much," Allison's mom, Robin Williams, told the Panthers.
Despite the school district telling them Alli would never make the team, she is still trying out at the end of the month.
To give her some added inspiration, Allison got a very special visit from the Cincinnati Ben-Gal Cheerleaders.
"We are so happy we could come out and show Alli our support." Ben-Gal Jessica H. said.
Allison's mom said adults, including school administrators, could learn a valuable lesson from the Panthers about accepting everyone.
"We are supposed to be teaching kids, and here the kids are teaching us. This gives me a lot of hope in humanity," she said.
Whether Alli makes her high school cheer team or not, one thing is certain, she is now a lifelong honorary member of the Panthers, and she's got a lot of new friends for life.
The superintendent of Elgin schools said the district could not comment because they have sought legal counsel in the matter.
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