By Louise Kinross
A few year's back it was suggested to me that a great co-op placement for my son was to work in a school separating the garbage and recycling. My son had no great interest in garbage, or recycling, so I didn't buy the rationale and nuked that idea.
Many high schools have students with disabilities do the recycling as a regular activity. I'm not sure why these students, over any other student, need to learn this skill at school, or why we want to give their peers the idea that students with disabilities have a special passion or proclivity for it? It seems to me that if students are being called upon to do the garbage and recycling then all students should take part.
This morning Ellen Seidman at Love That Max reports on another example of disabled students being singled out for chores that no other students do.
At Big Blueberry Eyes, Michelle learns that part of the curriculum in a self-contained Grade 6 class for her daughter will involve washing the uniforms for the school football team.
"The thing is this: I am not sending my child to middle school to learn to do laundry," writes Michelle. "Especially not the laundry of the football team. It doesn't matter if it happens once a week, once a month, once a quarter, or once a year. One time is one time too many. Even one time is not acceptable."
In addition to the fact that using a washing machine isn't typically on the middle school curriculum, if you want to teach kids the mechanics of washing clothes, shouldn't they have to do their own stinky ones? Why should the sweat-drenched football jerseys be carted over to the special-needs class?
Unfortunately, this scenario reminds me of a parent who went with her young adult daughter with Down syndrome to find out about job opportunities through the Ontario Disability Support Program. They were told that every single job included cleaning a bathroom. Now, bathrooms need to be cleaned, and I don't have a problem with students being given this responsibility. But when we specifically single out students with disabilities, and tell them that for some reason this particular task is attached to the only jobs they are eligible for, something is seriously wrong.