When a school has a choir performance, you would assume all of the students would be included, right? Apparently, wrong. That’s not what happened at Beaumont Middle School. Jade Razzano, a student with disabilities, was left off to the side during the performance. The fact that this happened in a room full of adults sickens me.
This is why Lindsay Vaughn, Jade’s caregiver, shared a photo on Facebook, showing Jade sitting in her wheelchair on the side, while the other students danced.
The post states:
“This is a tough post. I would like to think we live in a world where inclusion for children of all abilities is a given. That when someone sees injustice they act upon it. Last night Jade had a performance with her school choir. Or shall I say, Jade’s school choir performed while she watched from the sidelines because they made absolutely no effort to include her in it.
Instead of coming up with ways to include Jade in their dance (there are so many ways I can think of off the top of my head), there was no effort to do so. Instead of simply including her name in the program with her peers they decided to barely include it as an afterthought on the bottom of the program.
The anger and frustration I feel (and I know her mother feels) is at an all time high. I beg everyone I know to always be kind to everyone you meet, because if you are not, this is the kind of thing that happens. We must refuse to let our most vulnerable population continue to be treated as anything but the amazing individuals they are. Jade is amazing and they are missing out on truly knowing her.”
What’s even worse is the fact that her name wasn’t really included in the performance, as her first name was typed in the bottom corner of the program, while the other kids’ full names appeared in a centered, alphabetical list. Who does that?
But, sadly, that’s not where the entire fiasco ends. Even more terribly, after the last song, the choir and teacher left the stage–without also helping Jade off. According to Joey Razzano, Jade’s mom, “they just left Jade up there. They didn’t give her a second glance. My husband had to go up there and get her.”
Joey also shared the rehearsal photo on her own Facebook, describing how the entire system needs to change, not just firing one teacher, stating:
“This is a pervasive issue. If you just fired that one teacher, you’re not going to make the world a better place. What you need to do is educate them. You have to provide training.”
While it seems like common sense for me, especially as a former educator, never to exclude a student (or anyone!) like that, I hope this horrible occurrence serves as a lesson to others in empathy.