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Maria:  My daughter was a cheerleader through middle school, can she be excluded from participating in high school cheer saying that is not qualified for HS cheerleading?

  1. My son is a senior on a 504 who has struggled in school he made low gpa last year my son was Put in grade forgiveness to help him. Well he went first 2 days to try outs. And was told you can’t try out or play, your gpa is low. my son said “but I am in grade forgiveness and I have letter from my school consular and I’m a 504 student”. the coach said I can’t help you. He said again, but I’m on 504 please I really want to play. I’m trying so hard. he then said your 504 plan doesn’t matter, it’s a rule of fshaa. We called them, they also sent a email saying “yes, school can work with him and give him a chance.” I went to the school and showed all from fshaa. Coach still said the 504 plays no role – he can’t try out or play. I am getting different response from all of the school fshaa.

    • Sharon, I tend to think outside the box when it comes to student athletes, eligibility, etc. Yes, I have seen some very strict school districts who had some of the most popular players sit out on games due to low GPAs, etc. Other times, I have seen school districts work with athletes who are struggling academically but it is a thin line as the player must understand that grades and progress are important. It truly depends on the district, coaches, etc. The good news is that your son is motivated and self advocating. What are the other options for sports outside of your school? I have put my children in outside sports and enrichments programs to build their self esteem and to go outside the district and to build their skills. ” No” motivated me to find a “YES” somewhere else.

    • Debbie,
      Your son has the same rights as his non-disabled peers. I am not sure of the GPA i thought I read it had to be atleast a 2.0 but I could be wrong. Not letting him play because of an IEP is discrimination. He should try out for the team. Good luck and i hope your son makes the team!!!!

    • Do you want your son on a team based only because of the IEP and to use the IEP as a way to get on the team without skills? High school varsity sports are different. Does your school have junior varsity and even what some school called “thirds or practice teams?” Is your son skilled at the game at the varsity level or the junior varsity level? Are they excluding him only BECAUSE of the IEP? My child had an IEP and played varsity sports. The IEP had nothing to do with the sport. He had to work hard, make stats, qualify, work out, etc. The sports motivated him to make high grades, academic progress, use AT, etc — it was a process and he learned self advocacy and I slowly stepped to the side as he advocated for himself. Could you clarify your question?

    • I have seen high students students with disabilities on many varsity sports teams on the years. I have seen wrestlers with no legs win and go to state championships as well as track and field athletes and many more. My concern is when parents push the IEP to give preference for a student to be on a team. The DESIRE must come from the student who is willing to work to be on a team and for coaches to understand and yes accommodate. I have seen many coaches accommodate students with different abilities on varsity teams but still those students work hard and earn spots. It is a team effort. It would serve no purpose to use an IEP as a way to have a student join a team, especially for the student. There are many types of sports teams in addition to high school.

  2. There must be specific criteria for qualifying to try out to be a cheerleader. Determine if she meets this criteria. If she does, they must let her try out. If they do not that is discrimination under Section 504, & a violation of IDEA rules.

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