To the Mom Who Said Her Kids Were Going 'Further in Life' Than 'Special Ed' Kids
This guest post is by Dr. Kerry Magro EdD, a professional speaker, best-selling author and autism entertainment consultant who is on the autism spectrum. A version of this blog appeared on Kerrymagro.com here. Follow Kerry’s journey on Facebook here.
“The kids that are going further in life aren’t the special ed kids.”
A parent is receiving backlash after starting a heated Facebook debate that her non-disabled child should receive more in-person schooling than a special education student in the fall. It started with the original poster explaining she was upset that while special education students at her child’s school would be able to attend in-person classes five days a week, her child was only going to be allowed to attend twice a week. When someone explained it might have to do with classroom size and managing the risk of COVID-19, she wrote, “It’s very easy to manage the class size and have them all attend. Not going to debate with you. The kids that are going further in life aren’t the special ed kids, sorry to say but it’s the truth.”
She didn’t stop there. When someone responded asking her to clarify what she meant, she made her awful opinion even more clear:
“Also, when I say special, I mean head banging, screaming, throwing fits, special. My child is going a lot further in life than those children, and should be the one going five days a week, not two. And if you don’t like that truth, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Now, I’m seeing a lot of people in my community talking about this comment, and it really, really annoyed me as well. I have autism and dysgraphia and as a former special education student and someone who has had some success today, shame on this individual. When I was a kid, I was continually told in special education that we were less than the general population. We’re living in 2020 now. We know of so many successful people with disabilities within our community. I have written three books and have had some success in my life, and I know individuals with autism, and with other disabilities, who have had similar success. So to hear someone say this was really really upsetting to me.
If this individual took the opportunity to learn from our community I’m sure they’d feel differently. If I listened to those comments, like the comments this individual brought up today, I’m not sure I’d have a full-time job today as a professional speaker and author.
At the end of the day, so many of us in this community fight for disability rights. We fight for disability equality. To see people out there making ignorant comments like this really ticks me off and really makes me upset. Not only just a person, but also as a disability advocate within our community. We need as a society to spread kindness and love for everyone on this planet. We need to treat people as human, and we need to stop having these petty conversations online, because we live in such a world right now where there’s so much uncertainty.
Now, on Facebook, I’m seeing this mom getting shamed. While I don’t agree with fueling her comments with more negativity, this is the type of small-minded attitude that makes it challenging for our community to break down barriers of hate and ignorance. It’s also the type of mentality that I believe makes some ignore special education students all together.
Why can’t we just embrace each other and our unique quirks, and realize there are so many amazing individuals within our community? I hope to have a lot of success in the future, and I hope that for so many people with disabilities. I also hope for an equal education for every single person in our schools today.
Therapies and services for our special education students has been sorely missed during this pandemic. School districts vary depending where you are, but I hope special education students aren’t excluded. In a world full of so much uncertainty, let’s be kind to one another.
What do you think? Let Kerry know in the comments below.
Getty image via coscaron