Ok lovelies, Momma is dusting off her soap box. Grab some coffee and hold on!
I came across an article that bothered me on a few levels. The article was titled “Autistic student ‘humiliated’ at prom after sister barred.”
So before I read it, just seeing the title made my inner momma bear stir. I don’t approve of anyone treating anyone with anything but kindness, regardless of disability, race, gender etc. I know, I know, I’m too liberal for my own good.
So I click on the article and I read it and I’m annoyed for a different reason. First of all, kudos to Fox News for using such an eye catching title. I was outraged before I even read anything. But, once I read the circumstances, there is a slight over reaction here.
A young autistic man wanted to go to his prom with his older sister, for fear of being bullied. He felt safe with the sister and I think that’s great. Going to prom is an experience all kids should have and if going with his big sister made him feel safe, awesome! No problems here.
Now this boy and his TWENTY FOUR year old sister show up at the prom and the school is like “we don’t allow people over age twenty in to the prom.” And so the boy is devastated and that’s sad, I get it. The school has this rule in place to protect the kids and I think it’s a mighty fine rule. Would you want an adult in their mid twenties hanging out with your teenager? Now this particular situation is different because she is the boys sister and I’m sure, harmless. But it’s not the point. Rules are rules.
Outraged, the parents obviously take this to the media because their son was “humiliated” and treated unjustly. Perhaps. But the school mentioned a valid point. If the parents had contacted the school ahead of time and explained the situation to them, they would’ve been more than happy to accommodate the boy and make an exception so he could attend his prom. The parents just assumed that it would be ok and didn’t even question it. The school doesn’t know she is his sister. They were performing their job in ensuring the safety of the students.
Now, Momma isn’t a judgy person for the most part but honestly, any special needs parent worth their salt, is going to check things out before allowing their special needs child to go to an event like this. Even if the child’s parent was going to attend with him, they should’ve called the school ahead of time to let them know of the situation.
Bullying is an epidemic in this country. Kids are mean. And unfortunately, this is behavior they learn. People aren’t born mean and nasty. It’s something they learn from family, friends, television…all kinds of arenas. It’s sad and shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone. Just because someone is different than you, doesn’t give you the right to put them down just to raise yourself up. I tell my kids all the time, you should never judge people. You don’t know what it’s like to be in their shoes. Especially with their disability. Oldest and Middle have high functioning autism and, as many uneducated wackos like to point out, they don’t LOOK autistic. *insert sigh here* But I’ve taught them to embrace it. It’s a part of who they are and they should never be ashamed of it.
However, I also do not allow them to use it as an excuse. Oldest tried that one for awhile. I would ask him why he didn’t do his homework and he would say it was because he had autism. Ummm, nope try again sir. Kids with autism are all different and have different abilities and deficiencies, just like “typical” kids. Having the label of autism does not automatically make them exempt from following the rules.
Ok, I feel better now. If you’d like to read the story, you can check out the article here.
*climbs off soapbox