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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Changing the World

“A teacher effects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” –Henry Adams

“I will let the facts speak for themselves” Demosthenes


These two quotes feel relevant to me just now.  There have been some things going on in my daughter’s school days that I found it necessary to address.  I tend to be pretty easy going about things, trying to see all sides and hanging back, letting Hillary meet the world on her own terms and the staff who work with her handle challenges that come up with the rest of the school.  I frequently think that she is here to teach more than she is to be taught, but we must work within the public school system and they (administrators & law makers) don’t get that poetic idea.  So when Hillary is mainstreamed into a general education class, I take a back seat and let things work themselves out, and for the most part it’s been good all these years.  This year, for the first time ever, I had to step in and protest.  I’ve protested things before, but never a situation like this.  The chorus teacher kept asking her aide to take her out of the class because she was making noise while they were singing.  She was participating to the best of her ability and enjoying the music and being with her peers.  I had no choice, I had to step in with an e-mail to her teachers and administrators of the school.  Multiple recipients brings the fastest action.  There was a prompt response and I think things are getting better.  I think I am most disappointed that this teacher, instead of using the situation to model acceptance to the rest of the students, chose to model intolerance for those who are different.  How unforgivable.  I believe that Hillary’s peers are the future teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, and policy makers, as well as caregivers and members of society.  If what they see as acceptable is intolerance and disrespect for differences there is not much chance things will change for the better.  Any one of us could suffer an accident or health emergency which leaves us with disabilities.  We need to know that those who will be caring for us and our loved ones have respect for and tolerance of our different abilities and disabilities.  Certainly I cannot force this man to embrace the chance to work with someone like my daughter, but he must obey the law which says she has a legal right to be there, and he must show her respect and sensitivity for her feelings as a fellow human being at the very least.  I may not be able to change the whole world, but I hope that I can help positive change happen in the future.


Anonymous said...

I am stunned. How could this "music teacher" not know Hillary was singing?! You handled this situation very well - that teacher is still breathing, isn't he? Wow.

Kathi said...

"Any one of us could suffer an accident or health emergency which leaves us with disabilities"... such a stunning truth Sue. I wonder if this individual ever had any hardship touch them or ever exposed to someone "different". How uninformed and ignorant he is. I admire your courage, and depth of character. You have learned many good things, wonderful things, from Hilary. I learned from your post too.... Thank you. Thank you for a good reminder.