For Educators and Parents ...
Six months after the death of my daughter, a university professor of Education asked me to speak to his class. He wanted his students to see the human side of dealing with parents of a child with a disability, and how their actions as educators, positive and negative, can impact on a student, and on the family.
I must point out that our experience with the education system was a particularly bad one. Hopefully, most people don't experience problems to the degree that we did.
There was something I wanted to get across to these students. I had seen what a good educator can do, and I had seen what a negative attitude could do. I knew I could not say this out loud without falling apart, but wanting the message to be out there, I asked the Professor to read this after my departure.
Perhaps you work in the education system, or are just a parent who has a child with a disability in your child's classroom. I hope you will read this, and give it some consideration.
For me, the greatest tragedy in this is that there is a small part of me that is relieved in Meica's death. What horrific event would cause a mother to feel that way?
What future did she have ?? Slowly and surely, her future was stolen by those educators who refused to see her potential and work with her strengths. Meica's school records would have dogged her all of her life. Her future was doomed. I am relieved that she does not have to continue to fight everyday to gain the respect she deserved. It was a battle we were losing, and for her, it would have been a long one. Perhaps, she would have never been able to shake the label the educators had assigned to her, however unfair. She was without a future.
And now, when you graduate, you will hold in your hands the power to steal someone's future. Use it wisely.Presented Jan. 20th, 1998
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