High School Officials Ask Special Needs Athlete to Remove Varsity Jacket


Michael Kelley, a student at East High School in Wichita, Kansas, plays extracurricular special needs basketball.

Recently, Kelley’s mother, Jolinda Kelley, bought her son, who has Down syndrome and autism, a varsity letter to wear on his jacket like the other kids at school. She then found out school officials asked Kelley to remove the jacket, KSN News reported.

East High School’s principal, Ken Thiessen, told the KSN News that he and his staff had decided it was not appropriate to award official varsity letters in non-varsity competitions.

Kelley’s family wants to see a change made in the rules. School board members contacted by KSN have said they would consider supporting a district-wide policy to ensure kids are treated fairly.

It’s not just my son,” Jolinda Kelley, told the outlet. “It’s every student that was out there last night. It’s every student that’s there on Fridays that plays their hardest and to the best of their capability regardless what that is.”

Watch the video below for more on this story:

Read more about this issue here: Why We All Lose When Kids With Disabilities Are Shut Out of Sports

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.