Thursday, July 12, 2007

Move To The Back Of The Bus

Ashley was reluctant to get on the school bus this morning. She has very definite preferences for the type of people she likes, and the current set of bus driver/bus aide does not fall into the ‘like’ category. But like most of us, she needs to learn how to deal with people she may not like. It’s a fact a life.

After an insistent nudge from me, she decided to step up to the bus and move to her seat. As is my usual custom, as soon as she stepped up, I told everyone to have a good day and turned to go back into the house. I was in the house for a few minutes gathering my work paraphernalia and saying goodbye to my oldest son. When I left the house to go to my car, I noticed the bus was still at the end of our driveway, and that the driver and aide were both standing over Ashley as she sat half in – half out of her seat.

I went to the bus, waiting for the driver to open the doors (parents are usually as welcome on a school bus as the norovirus in a daycare center), and then walked up to Ashley. The aide was softly saying over and over again “Ashley, you need to slide over in your seat.” The purpose of this blog entry is not to discuss how thickheaded the aide was being – I did that earlier this week. The purpose is to share an observation about how the students were seated on the bus.

Keep in mind this is “special transportation”, meaning the only kids on the bus are the ones who will be segregated into their “special classrooms” as they arrive at school. Approximately 15 children were on the bus. The thing I immediately noticed is that each one of them had their own row of seats – no child sat next to another child. What the hell is up with that?

First the school district keeps my child in segregated “special” classrooms. Then they make her eat lunch, not with whom she chooses, but still with the other students in her “special” classroom. That is followed by adapted physical education, another way of saying continued segregation. And forget ever taking part in performance programs with the children who aren’t special. So, when I saw that on the bus of “special” children, segregation is taken one step further, my blood started to boil.

Can’t I even go one day without seeing a blatant display of disability prejudice? Apparently not…

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