Three members of a middle school basketball team have shown that character and courage can put bullies in their place. The players for Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were playing a game in 2014 when they heard a spectator make a belittling comment to a cheerleader who has Down syndrome. Their reaction was stopping the game to confront the spectator.
Scooter Terrien, Chase Vazquez and Miles Rodriquez say that although they took action first, they had their entire team’s support when they walked away from the game to stop the bully of Dee Andrews, who is now an eighth grader. The boys say that they were only doing the right thing by defending their classmate.
Rodriguez told reporters that he became angry when he heard that someone was talking about Andrews. That’s when he and his friends walked off the court, he added, and told the bully to stop because what they were doing wasn’t right. Terrien says that he doesn’t think it’s fair for people to be treated wrong because everyone is created the same.
Andrews has been appreciative of their support and has had friends to walk with between classes since the incident. She told reporters that what the boys did was “sweet, kind, awesome and amazing.”
David Tolefree, the basketball coach, says that Andrews is always included in the introduction of the team’s starting lineup now. They even renamed the gym “D’s House,” he added, and the students wear T-shirts that celebrate her being part of the team.
Tim Nieman, the athletic director, says that he’s proud of the students for standing up for Andrews and proud of Andrews and the other cheerleaders, who have rallied around her. This is what it is to stand up and be a true team of people that supports others, he added. The students have also received support from across the country, and the city’s council is preparing a citizenship award for them.