|How did classmates internalize this teacher validating my ostracism?|
“The end of the school year should be a happy time filled with celebrations of all the hard work and preparation for a busy summer ahead,” Perry wrote at The Washington Post, On Parenting. “For us, though, Nico’s exclusion from these plays was just another reminder how far we have to go.”
To honor the 25th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Perry is asking educators and parents to “go out of their way to be more inclusive” of children with disabilities, beyond merely providing the formal structures mandated by IDEA.
“When a child with disabilities is kept out of an activity, not only will it hurt them (and their families), but the typical children internalize this segregation as necessary. They will carry that lesson forward.”
(About my illustration: My personal experience supports Perry’s premise that children learn from adult behavior to marginalize people who are “different.” The cartoon, created with the MakeBeliefs Comix online comic strip generator, depicts a teacher allowing my classmates to get away with refusing to hold hands with me. She didn’t cause the ostracism I suffered at Calistoga Elementary School, but I think her behavior reinforced to classmates that shunning me was OK.)