GARLAND, Texas (WFAA) -- If you want to see joy mixed with pure determination, watch 13-year-old Madison Thompson cheer.
It's much more than a hobby. She's competed for Cheer Athletics, the private gym she's been with for 10 years. She's racked up several trophies, dozens of bows, and even graced the cover of a cheerleading magazine! But there's something else she wants to add to her resume.
It is the goal of the district to provide every qualified student with a disability an opportunity to audition for the cheerleading program on a level that is equal to that of students without disabilities. We operate under the guidelines laid out by the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to ensure that all GISD cheerleading programs adhere to the district’s responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.The GISD centralized cheerleading tryout process is designed in such a way that every student is provided with an equitable and nondiscriminatory audition experience. The tryout process is designed to assess the required level of skill and ability necessary for students to participate in each school’s cheer program. GISD cheer tryouts do not operate on the basis of any generalization, assumption, prejudice or stereotypes about disability generally, or specific disabilities, in particular. The tryout process is open to all qualified students.
Equal opportunity for participation is afforded to any qualified student seeking to try out for a spot on a GISD cheer team. GISD will provide reasonable modifications in order to ensure that every student is afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the tryout process, unless doing so would be a fundamental alteration to the tryout process. Requested modifications must not alter essential aspects of the tryout process or provide any student with an unfair advantage.The GISD centralized tryout process is designed to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate fundamental cheerleading skills that are essential and necessary for the cheerleading team of each campus. The tryout process allows students to demonstrate their ability to learn and perform a specific routine within a set amount of time. The tryout process also assesses a student’s ability to perform specific cheerleading skills including tumbling, jumps, motion technique, voice projection, timing and memory. These skills and abilities are scored according to a standardized judging criteria which is used to assess every candidate equally.