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.