Thursday, April 5, 2012


Inclusion.  Do you think about it often?  And no, I am not talking about including our children in an educational setting.  Inclusion in simple life settings, that is what is on my mind this morning.  I am going to use a specific example to make my point, but this concept could be applied to just about any life situation.

in·clu·sion  (n-klzhn)
1. The act of including or the state of being included.
2. Something included.

As you know I love the show Glee.  This series really gets inclusion and celebrates all the characters and their differences and abilities.  Rock on, Glee.  Keep the great story lines coming.

But what about those differently-abled folk that life in a real world?  A world where inclusion is not part of their daily lives?  How can we celebrate all individuals if we do not practice inclusion in real life? 

This article about a young man in the state of Georgia just wanting to be included with the rest of his classmates.  This should not be happening.  We should be celebrating not purposely excluding differently-abled folk.  All of us are special.

Disabled student sidelined during choir performance

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (WXIA) --  A photo posted on the 11AliveFacebook page has prompted an outpouring of comments.
It shows  choir members from several six grade schools performing Tuesday night at South Cobb High School,  while wheelchair bound Alex Pollard, also a chorus member, was kept way off to the side.
Alex's mother, Arla Jan Wilson, said she was just sure someone would roll him up to the group before the music started, but everyone seemed to completely ignore him.
"To see the look on his face, it broke my heart.  It was totally unacceptable.  That should never happen to my child, or any other disabled student out there," said Wilson.
Wilson said her 12-year-old son, who is in a wheelchair because of Cerebral Palsy, was so excited to join the chorus after seeing the hit show "Glee".
The choir director, Lars Grevstad, is actually Alex's chorus teacher at Cooper Middle School. 
Wilson said she chose to send Alex to that school because it has accomodations and training for special needs students.
No one from the Cobb County School District would go on camera, but released a statement saying:
It was a regrettable oversight that the student with special needs was not positioned with the rest of his schoolmates during the choralperformance. The student has been a member of the chorus for the entire school year and there have been no prior issues. The choral director has cited several reasons why this occurred but accepts responsibility. The matter will be investigated and, if necessary, appropriate personnel action will be taken. That action could include a letter of reprimand and/or sensitivity training.

Yet, when 11Alive's Duffie Dixon spoke to the district earlier in the day it acknowleged it had talked to the choir director, Lars Grevstad.
According  to spokesperson Jay Dillon, among the reasons Grevstad gave was that a student helper usually rolls Alex up to the choir.  That student helper was apparently absent.  Dillon said Grevstad also unfortunately never saw Alex off to the side.
"I find that hard to believe," countered Wilson, "since the director came and welcomed Alex personally before the performance started."

We shouldn't have to think about inclusion.  It should just happen......  How can we change?  We are all special.
Be gentle.


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