Family fights to get daughter with Down syndrome on varsity cheer team

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

MANVEL, Texas - You could say cheerleading is in Alexia Guiton's blood. Her older sister Brittany is on the varsity team at Manvel High School and so is her twin sister Alexis. 

"The reason I want her on the varsity team is because her twin sister is already on that squad and she would be a great support to her on the field," said Cynthia Guiton, Alexia's mother. 

Alexia has Down syndrome, she tried out for the team but didn't make it.  As a compromise the Alvin Independent School District offered her a spot on the junior varsity team, but the Guitons feel that isn't fair.

"They are not embracing disabled kids," Guiton said.  "They're not giving them the same rights as all the other students."

Alvin ISD spokesperson, Daniel Combs, told Local 2 he feels the district has gone out of its way to give Alexia an opportunity to get involved. 

"A priority for our district is to make sure that all of our students are able to participate in extracurricular activities regardless of their needs. We want to find a place for them," he said.

The district has some safety concerns about Alexia being on the sidelines of Friday night football games where there are thousands of people in the stands and hundreds on the field.  The JV games are different, they feel.

"There's not as many people on the sidelines, so we could make sure the young lady is safe and is able to participate," Combs said.  "We feel the JV program would offer a lot of opportunity for that young lady to participate."

The Guitons said it's varsity or nothing and their other daughter is evening planning to boycott. 

"If you're going to accept me but not my twin, that's not okay," said Alexia Guiton.  "I'm not gonna cheer with the team."

The district told Local 2 it will allow Alexis to also cheer at the JV level so the two sisters can be together.  It's also working on putting together a cheer clinic for all students with special needs.  

"Our hope is that we can continue to work with the family," Combs said. 

"We just want her to get out and cheer and have fun," Guiton said. 

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.