For many, middle school and high school can be traumatizing. For those facing challenges, it can be even worse. That could have been the case of young Desiree Andrews, who has Down Syndrome.
But three teenage boys changed that tide.
14-year-old Desiree is a cheerleader at Lincoln Middle School. And that fulfills a dream. A dream she had since seeing a girl with Down Syndrome cheering on an episode of Glee.
But for Desiree, being part of the team means more. It’s helped her boost her confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, as she found out during a basketball game.
Some in the crowd began to heckle and mock Desiree, making fun of her. Because that’s what bullies do. Pick on those smaller and weaker. Desiree however, seems to have an inner core of strength, as evidenced by what her father, Cliff Andrews, recounts. She did her best to ignore them but was upset on his behalf because he was angry. At this point, any father would be ready to step in and start bashing heads to protect his little girl.
“She saw that I was upset,” Andrews said in an interview. “She threw her hands around me and made me look at her face and said, ‘Papa, it’s OK. I still love them even if they don’t like me.’ “
When Chase Vasquez, Scooter Terrien, and Miles Rodriguez saw what was happening, they took immediate action.
“The kids in the audience were picking on D, so we all stepped forward,” says Vasquez.
And that brought the game to a halt, because as soon as the rest of the team realized what was happening, a timeout was called, and they walked off the court.
“We were mad. We didn’t like that. We asked our sports director to talk to the people and tell them not to make fun of her,” said Rodriguez.
The bullies were confronted and shot down.
“When I heard they were talking about her, it kind of like, made me mad,” Rodriguez said in a separate interview with TMJ4. “A couple of us went over there and were like, can you guys just stop. That’s not right.” And Scooter Terrien leaves us with some words we all need to reflect on.
“It’s not fair when other people get treated wrong because we are all the same.”
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