Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Asshat of the Week

This week's Asshat goes to Gilbert Unified School District superintendent Dave Allison.

Kevyn Barton is an 18-year-old student who has disabilities in the Gilbert School District. This May, when his peers walk down in their gowns for commencement, Kevyn won't be with them. Why? Because he's in the transitional program for special-needs kids and will receive services until he's 22.

What a crock of doody.

Here's how it works. Although Little Guy "could" have graduated with his peers, the state offers transitional services until he is 21. With those he is learning life skills such as money management and job training. Although he still goes to the high school, he doesn't participate in regular classes any more except for choir (which entailed some extra finagling on our part).

He goes straight to the transitional room and from there either to his apprenticeship job or to the van that takes him into the city to life classes not offered in our particular district. In the transitions room, he is usually working on things like meal planning, balancing his checkbook, navigating the transit system, etc. He has very little interaction with other high school students at all.


They are not his peers.

At any time, we can accept his diploma. When that happens, we are telling the state that their job is done and that Little Guy no longer needs educational services from them. It will be over. Ta-da.

Even though we refused his diploma, as a senior, Little Guy was allowed to participate fully in graduation with his class. The only difference was that the diploma case he received was empty. He got to walk down the aisle with the students and friends he was raised with---the ones he shared birthday parties, school dances and even chicken pox with.

When his name was called, all of these blessed children gave him a screaming standing ovation, sharing their love and recognition as one of their own.

Tomorrow they are going away to college and jobs and their new lives. Graduation night is their very last chance to celebrate as a class.

Gilbert School Superintendent Dave Allison has the discretion to allow Kevyn to participate in this magical rite of passage. But he has refused.

He is "upholding a board policy that exists for consistency's sake and often is enforced with students who, for example, have failed a final exam or a course."

"It wouldn't be fair to say 'yes' to Kevyn and 'no' to the other kids."

So what? What do you think the term "special" in "special needs" means? It means there are extraordinary circumstances.


And who gives two poops about "fair"? Do you think that it was "fair" for Kevyn to be handed these extra challenges in his life that necessitate his participation in a transitional program?

Kevyn will never have another opportunity to experience this rite of passage with his peers.

And yes I say his peers, because these are the kids he has grown up with----not the kids who will be graduating 3-4 years from now. When he is "allowed" to participate in graduation exercises then, who of them will know him? Who will recognize or care about how hard he has worked to get to that day?

Who will be there to give him his ovation?

That's why you, Mr. Allison, are this week's Asshat.

Anyone want to share their feelings with the Gilbert District, you can do so at
PJ_Sessoms@gilbert.k12.az.us

I'm going to go kick something now.

20 comments:

Ellen Lyn said...

First email of the day....hope you don't mind that I quoted you--but resisted calling him an asshat (it was tough). My own city hall should be open in about 15, and it's on to chewing a little local asshat bee-hind!

Thanks for the warmup! Hope the kid gets his props!!

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

I - as an educational psychologist whose main field field of interest is special education - am bloody appalled at the rule-bound manner in which an educational service that should be all about flexibility is being run! The reason why officials get this power of discretion is so they can use it, instead of being rule-bound and unable to meet the needs of their clients. Maybe Mr. Allison needs to go back to school and learn what words like 'discretion' mean!

Anyone doing that shit to my special needs daughter will get told in a much more 'tangible' manner than just by bloody e-mail, I can tell you!

Not being in the US, I'm not sure that I'm in a position to weigh in on the kerfuffle, but I will take an opportunity to ask others who are in the States to e-mail this PJ Sessoms about this idiot Allison and his piss-arsing about.

Beth said...

Whatever you kick, kick it hard.

Brenda said...

Sic em ATM! Mr. Allison should hang his head in shame if he doesn't allow this young man the honor of a graduation celebration with his peers!

She said...

Freaking BOILS MY BLOOD!

I've been teaching for 20 years and that is JUST NONSENSE!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I take issue with diplomas handed out to "dead kids," but not to kids like Kevyn. I agree--that is crap. I wish Mr. Allison a long retirement during which he is confined to a wheelchair shoved up against a blank wall.

Charlie said...

The minute you mentioned Gilbert Unified in your first paragraph I knew you were talking about the suburb next to mine. Why? Because Gilbert is famous for its indiscriminate discrimination.

You will probably have to zap this comment, Mom, but I suspect the problem with Kevyn is he's not a Mormon . . .

Chris H said...

If I lived near enough I would go kick the man! And I would send Kevyn to the Graduation NIght anyway!

abfh said...

E-mail sent.

Calling Allison an asshat is unfair to donkeys...

Big Pissy said...

That's just ridiculous!

Kevin should be with his peers at that graduation!

Traceytreasure said...

I feel so bad for Kevyn.
If you're going to kick something, make sure it's Mr. Allison's ass! :)

(1/2) Joking of course!! :)

Hugs!!

Ellen said...

Need to first say, THIS IS LOATHESOME. And now, going to email. I hope this gets some newspaper press, too, particularly Mr. Asshat.

Fiery said...

I wrote him an email and posted it and an appeal for more on my blog.

I too used some of your wording.

Dan said...

The problem reflects the one rule fits all mindset becoming all too common in a litigious country. What ever happened to some judgement and tact?

Missicat said...

What a complete tool. Has there been any updates?

Jennifer McKenzie said...

I hope you kicked HIM and right where it counts.

Ellen said...

Don't hate me, but I gave you an award at my blog. Take it or leave it! I adore you either way.

Tricia said...

It is absolutely disgusting that this can be allowed to happen. I applaud your comments and sentiments on this. Well said and well done for publicising a situation that should not be happening!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

That is just ridiculous! I am so glad that Little Guy got to have his moment...everybody needs their moment!

Pete said...

we call them jobsworths over here!

what a twat