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Have some feeling, people

The P-G recently published an editorial/article from a mother of an autistic child in the Hampton School District. Apparently some parents of her son Jake's high school classmates felt that Jake was disrupting class too much and taking time away from their kids' learning, which they feared could ultimately hinder their kids' chances of getting into a good college. Not willing to own up to their feelings, these "concerned" parents sent an anonymous letter to Jake's mother Renee asking her to consider an alternative setting for Jake.

Wow is all I have to say. Well, almost all.

As I blogged about last year, there was a mildly autistic child in the vacation Bible school class I taught. It was very challenging for me, someone who had pretty much no experience in that area, but I was glad that child was able to do what all the others did that week. I think we all benefited from the experience, and I would not have traded that opportunity for anything. In fact, several months later I applied to substitute at a school for kids with autism or emotional challenges, though I unfortunately did not make the cut.

I am sure Jake is distracting at times. But hopefully his teachers have some experience in that area and deal with it in the best way they can. Kids in general are distracting. I have blogged several times about behavioral issues I have had while subbing this school year. In a perfect world, everyone is, well, perfect. There would be no disruptions. Everyone would be respectful, pay attention, not goof off or be mean. All children would be born with the same abilities. But, alas, the world is not perfect.

There is more to life than worrying about your child getting into the best college. Yes, I get that that is important. But to the detriment of a young man who is entitled to be in a regular classroom? And you live in the number 4 school district out of 105. I live in 98. Cry me a river!

Since the article came out in the PG, I have no doubt Renee has received a lot of support on this issue. In fact, I emailed her while I was writing this post. Hopefully, the parents and students who stand behind her far outweigh the cowards who should reexamine their values. As Renee said, the things her son has taught others cannot be found in a text book; they are life lessons.

Some of us could stand to realize the benefit of life lessons.


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