Note: we are republishing this story to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying as well as the mental and physical repercussions it can have on people who are victims. Learn more about resources to fight against bullying here: https://www.stopbullying.gov/
Three middle school basketball players recently came to the defense of a cheerleader with Down syndrome who was being bullied by fans in the crowd. The incident happened at Lincoln Middle School, located in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
During the basketball game, Miles Rodriguez, Chase Vasquez and Scooter Terrien noticed fans bullying Desiree Andrews and the trio decided to defend their classmate, The Week reports.
Chase Vasquez told TMJ4 in Milwaukee, “The kids in the audience were picking on D, so we all stepped forward.”
After they noticed, more players gathered around to support Andrews, who is in eighth grade.
Rodriguez, who is 14, told Kenosha News, “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.”
The boys have befriended Andrews since the incident. They often walk her to class and now call the gymnasium "Dee’s House."
Andrews said that the gesture was, “sweet, kind, awesome, amazing.” Her father, Cliff Andrews, said that he was unable to choke back tears when he thanked the basketball players for their act of kindness.
School spirit at Lincoln Middle School has increased following the event, with students focusing on inclusion and kindness, the New York Daily News reports.
"It's not fair when other people get treated wrong, because we're all the same,” said Terrien. “We're all created the same; God made us the same way."