Now that it’s the end of the calendar year, you might be finding yourself sitting in the school gym, happily watching your kid perform in their winter play or concert. Unless your son isn’t actually on stage with everyone else, but on the floor instead.
That’s what happened to Cidalia Vitorino and her 10-year-old son, Camron Silva, at Spencer Borden Elementary School in Massachusetts. Camron has cerebral palsy, and instead of having him sit with his classmates during their performance, the music teacher had him sit below the stage. Of course, his mom was absolutely livid, according to The Herald News. She also posted a photo of the event on her Facebook.
She remains baffled as to why this happened, stating: “I don’t understand, there was no reason for it. They’re not going to get away with this…I never thought in a million years this would happen to my son.”
Apparently, Vitorino even tried to talk to the principal, Kate Cobb, about the situation, but was simply told the whole thing was set up by the music teacher. Cobb has given a public apology since, stating that “all staff will participate in disability awareness and sensitivity training to further our commitment to an inclusive learning environment.”
But the apology seems a little too late, since it never should have happened at all. Besides the fact that this situation illustrates a lack of understanding of how to include students with special needs, it also shows a complete lack of sensitivity on behalf of the principal.
The fact that this happened definitely proves that educators need to be better informed about inclusivity. What kind of message does this type of segregation send to students and adults alike? That difference is a burden, that it means a person with special needs is an outcast?
No one should ever feel excluded because of their disability. As parents and educators, we need to be the first to lead by example.