Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alex Barton Update 4

A lawsuit would likely be successful- but I hope the school district has the good sense to start training its teachers and staff now, rather than waiting for this to get to the courtroom. I hope they put supports in place for teachers who have special needs students in their classrooms- appropriate supports, not a police officer. I hope they start putting supports in place for students who are in the process of being evaluated and served by special education, so that they don't get lost in the gap.

I have stopped reading the "letters" about Alex Barton. Not only do the letters themselves put up my blood pressure, but the comment section makes me positively see red. It's not just ignorance. It is a display of positive malice towards people with disabilities and people with autism, and venom towards their parents who are advocating for them. The fountains of malevolence, spite, and vitriol are just mind-blowing. It makes you want to find out who these people are, write down their information, and make sure you not only avoid their company, but make sure you are not giving them business or otherwise supporting their hatred.

How does one educate people who have no point of reference to connect? The whole human thread thing doesn't seem to work, as they don't seem to see autistic people or disabled people as... well, people. They are some "Other" outside their existence. This is both the cause and the legacy of colonialism- seeing people who are different as Other, instead of as people.

The outpouring of sheer, unadulterated hatred that has resulted from this situation is something that strikes fear into my heart for Joey. People really do see autistic children as spoiled, horrible brats who need to be humiliated, abused, and isolated. I have become hardened to the judging glares of others since I started this blog (and I think they have diminished because Joey's frustration has gone down and his self-regulation has improved, so less people notice anything odd about him), but letters like these are stark reminders that these feelings are there, that one must be careful not to "brand" a child with a label (instead of having the label as a tool for support), and that, ultimately, there are a lot of stupid, nasty people out there.

Thank you for not being one of those people.

No comments: