The Mighty Logo

School Sends Discriminatory Letter to Student Who Uses a Wheelchair

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When Jake Wesely received what he describes as a discriminatory letter from his high school, he took to social media to right a wrong.

Wesely, 14, attends Bucks County Technical High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. He uses a wheelchair because he lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

Recently, the school sent a letter to Jake’s family, and the families of about 60 other students, saying “medically exempt” students would not be allowed to participate in the school’s athletic Field Day.

The letter explained that medically exempt students would be required to wear red wristbands to separate them from the other children. If they were caught removing the bands or participating in the activities, they would face “disciplinary consequences.”

Feeling marginalized, Jake posted a photo of the letter to Twitter.

Disability activists and news organizations quickly connected with Jake online, and it didn’t take long before his school took notice.

School officials soon retracted the letter, which they’d been sending out for years, and issued a full apology, CBS News reported.

I’m happy he brought it to our attention,” Dr. Leon Poeske, the school administrative director, told the outlet. “We were wrong.”

“I am glad to see such a strong young man take action for the basic rights as [his] classmates,” Amanda Ranochak, a Bucks County Technical High School alumna, told The Mighty in an email. “I only hope this strength will carry [him] on for the rest of [his] time in high school and beyond. Many of us on the sidelines are cheering for [him].”

 Get more on the story in the video below:

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.

Originally published: June 3, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home