Wisconsin basketball players name school gym after cheerleader with Down syndrome


ROCHESTER, Wis. (ABC) – When members of a school basketball team saw bullies hassling Desiree Andrews, a 14-year-old cheerleader with Down syndrome, they did something amazing for her.

“They were pointing and laughing at her from the stands,” says Miles Rodriguez, a basketball player at Lincoln Middle School in Wisconsin. “It’s not funny to make fun of somebody by the way they look or act.”

Without a second thought, the team walked off the court to demonstrate against those bullying Desiree.

“You have these kids that were picking on her and it came to the attention of the team, said Timothy Nieman, the school’s athletic director. “The team as a whole has something to say about it. They came out and said, ‘Hey, she is here to support us. You guys need to cut it out.'”

The students then took Desiree under their wing, even naming the school gym “D’s House” after the teen.

“She was happy that we had her side and that we had her back,” said one of the players, Scooter Terrien. “You can tell she was happy because she never took the smile off her face.”

Since catching fire, the logo “D’s House” has been plastered onto t-shirts and other promotional material.

“People will say that kids look up to teachers,” Nieman said. “Well, I think in this case that many teachers are looking up to them.”

In the future, members of the Lincoln Knights basketball team said they’ll keep striving to eliminate bullying in their school, no matter how hard the fight.

“This is not a one-time thing,” said player Harice Hodges. “You always have to stick up for kids that are bullied. It’s the right thing to do.”

ABC News reached out to Desiree Andrews via Lincoln Middle School, but she had been absent from her classes.

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