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Posts Tagged ‘middle school’

I’m standing in the entrance of Brooke’s school.  It’s an hour after the end of school and kids are now trickling out from their after school activities.  As I stand on one side of the entryway, looking for my baby, I hear a group of kids behind me chattering away at 100 miles per hour.  It’s always tough for me to listen to Brooke’s schoolmates because they all speak with a fluidity and spontaneity that has eluded her from the very beginning.  I always end up doing exactly what I should not…comparing.

This day is no different.

Then I hear it.  Someone says, “he’s so retarded!”

I tense up.  The hair on my neck rises.  I prepare myself to be “that parent”; to turn around and say something…anything.  Despite being an adult, I am in unfamiliar territory.  This is not the school Katie goes to; where a majority of the kids know who I am.  I have a high profile in Katie’s middle school.  My profile at Brooke’s middle school is hardly a blip.  I take a deep breath and turn to make sure the moment doesn’t pass unchallenged.

Then it happens.

“Hey! Don’t use that word!”
“Yeah!  That’s offensive.”
“Not cool!”

These are not words coming out of my mouth.  They are coming out of the other kids that are behind me.  I let out a sigh.  I resist the urge to turn around because these kids don’t need me to say anything.  They get it.  They are 12, 13, 14 years old and for the most part, they get it.

Which brings me to Steve Harvey.

This morning, on his radio show, his alter ego, Sister Odell, went off on a fictional person at church.  Sister Odell went on a rant, making fun of “a 34 year old with the mind of a 3 year old”.  He goes on to make fun of this fictional character for “blowing bubbles in church” and wanting to wear a cheerleading outfit on Easter.  Although the character is a work of fiction, the mean-spiritedness is not.

His bit led one woman to post this on YouTube:

I went to Steve Harvey’s Facebook page to see if he had even acknowledged his insensitivity.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 6.12.03 PM

That has got to be the most half-assed apology ever.

“my intent was not directed at any other real person. And most certainly was not directed at any one you know.”  Really, Steve?  You’re right.  It wasn’t. It was directed at EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO MAY BE INTELLECTUALLY CHALLENGED!  So guess what Steve?  Yes, it was directed at many people I know.

“The problem with comedy is ALL subjects can offend someone.”  True.  I can’t argue with that.  I would hope though that Steve could see why attacking the intellectually challenged might be little more offensive than attacking someone who is Italian.  Middle school aged kids get it, Steve.

What might be even harder to take however, are the comments on Harvey’s post:

Omg..someone cant handle..comedy? Smh

This is ridiculous! They say they don’t want to be treated differently and regular ppl get dog walked daily… That’s equality! This woman in the video is butt hurt over her own misconceptions about disabilities n a real drama queen. If u let every little thing bother you, your life will be a living hell!

Comedians have been doing this for years. If they stop for one group then they have to stop for another and so on and so on. People need to stop being so sensitive. If it’s not about you, then it’s not about you..

 I cant believe anyone is offended, really wow. Its all in fun!!!!

People get over it. If your that sheltered & don’t realize Sister Odell is a fictional character then so be it. Stop taking every damn thing ti heart. Steve don’t apologize for this.

You mean to tell me someone could really take the time to sit and complain about something that has no affect on their life

Love the show. Keep it coming. Really ppl. Steve keep up the good work. Obviously this person is having a bad day

All adults.  All willfully ignorant.  Perhaps they need to go back to middle school, because the kids at Brooke’s school get it.

There’s nothing wrong with teasing. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun at the expense of others. BUT here’s the thing, those you make fun of, should be able to give it right back to you.  I want to assume that Steve Harvey’s skit was born out of ignorance, because you can fix ignorance with education.  Unfortunately, his apology make me think that he is just another Asshat.

I’m glad that Brooke will grow up in a world where her schoolmates will have a say in how all challenged people are treated.  Those kids are the promise of tomorrow.

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Connection

fingers_touching

With the onset of middle school, I had to finally give up walking Brooke to her class every morning.

***

We stop at the bottom of the hill, some 50 yards from the entrance to the school.  We give each other a kiss on the cheek and then do something we call the “rollers” where we rub our cheeks together.  I watch, every morning with my breath held, as a little piece of my heart goes running up the hill and off to school.

***

For those of you who have been here from the beginning, or who have an autistic child, you know that Brooke’s attempts at play bids are clumsy and awkward at best, often leaving the recipients of those bids unsure of what to do.  Different kids react in different ways, but often, they will simply look at each other and move on.  I don’t know if Brooke is totally aware of how things are playing out or if she is blissfully ignorant – either way, it hurts to watch as a parent.

***

About halfway up the hill is a girl, by the looks of her from 25-30 yards, I would guess she is in 8th grade.  She is obviously waiting for some friends to arrive on the buses that are beginning to pull in.  Brooke veers toward her.  My already held breath turns into a ball of lead in my sternum.

***

Lately, Brooke has taken to making faces at people.  She will put her thumbs to her temple and stick out her tongue and squinch up her face.

***

I see the hands go to her head, elbows flaring out.  Though her back is turned to me, I can easily tell she is making faces at this girl.  ‘Oh crap!’ I think to myself…

…and then the girl makes a face back.

…and then Brooke bows to her.

…and the girl bows back.

…and then Brooke heads into school.

***

This has been played out on almost a daily basis.  Sometimes, if we are early or late, we miss her, but whenever we are on time, it is the same routine…the same connection.

I have no idea who this girl is, but whoever you are, thank you.

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