Sunday, June 14, 2015

Exclusion: Children learn from adults’ practices

Comic strip in three panels. The first panel's narrative reads, 'When teachers bully.' A human-looking rabbit says, 'All right class ... everybody take hands.' A girl and a human-looking cat are also in the frame. In the second frame, the rabbit says to the cat, 'No one wants to hold your hand so you have to hold a pair of combs. The children next to you can hold the other ends.' The cat has a sad look on her face. In the third panel, the rabbit happily says, 'All right! Take hands!' The cat has an angry look on her face and her hands are on her waist. The narrative reads, 'How I hated her ...'
How did classmates internalize this teacher validating my ostracism?
David M. Perry’s son Nico’s name was “conspicuously absent” from a flier promoting end-of-year performances by his school’s reading groups. Nico’s teacher’s explanation: “Nico will get to participate as an audience member.”

“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.)

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to the library service I provide to children of all abilities, I want to behave better than these adults.


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