After Anne Belanger from New Westminster, B.C. caught a glimpse of her son’s Grade 2 class picture, she couldn't believe her eyes. She looked at gleefully smiling children in the class standing in unison while her son, diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and who's wheelchair-bound, stood significantly farther away from the rest of his classmates. The mother knew kids could be cruel to her son because of his disability, but how could adults let this happen?
Juding by his earnest one million dollar smile, the seven-year-old boy Miles Ambridge didn't seem too fazed by his position in the class photo. The father of the young boy told the CBC that it broke his heart. "For some reason it makes me feel even worse that he’s so happy in the picture," Don Ambridge explained to the Province. "I think it’s because he’s still innocent ... He’s still naive to how other people can treat him."
His mother was equally devastated. She was heart-broken to see how much he was trying to lean in just to be a few inches closer to his classmates. All he wanted was to fit in. "Look at the angle that he was in,” the saddened mother told the Province, "he’s ostracized. He wants to be part of the gang so much."
After receiving the parent's complaints, Herbert Spencer Elementary blamed the photo company for the incident and apologized to the family for the mistake. But that wasn't enough. The parents insisted on having a retake of the class photo and they got it.
The father told the CBC that albeit being a small victory, the new class picture could not repair the harm done to his family. He hopes that this story can prevent these kinds of incidents from taking place in other schools. "Be sensitive to our differences, but don’t highlight those differences, accommodate them," he told CBC.
No news yet on what the remake of the class picture looks like but I'm sure seeing a smiling Miles included and treated like everyone else will give us all the warm fuzzies.
What do you think of this story? An example of discrimination or a story that was blown out of proportion? Let me know on Twitter: @feministabulous