We Must Fight For Those Who Can't Themselves

We Must Fight For Those Who Can’t Themselves

All kids need is a little help, a little hope and someone who believes in them.

We Must Fight For Those Who Can’t Themselves

There is no single way to live life, and I want these children and students to know that.

Life is hard, and sometimes it is so hard to get up and be positive all day. However...

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and I truly believe that it can exceed anyone's expectations – no matter what disability someone has. Children with disabilities not only face societal challenges, but also the simplest ones – like communicating with a loved one, or talking about feelings. There are many aspects that most fail to recognize about these special needs children.

I've come to learn that regardless of their level of functionality, when you meet someone with no filter – just pure humanity — your whole outlook changes.

I am a senior at Southmoreland High School. For a while now, I have always accredited my school for having such an amazing program for children with special needs and disabilities. Some of the special needs children I have met in my school are some of the happiest people I have ever encountered in my life. Most are always smiling, giggling and enjoying their time with their aides who provide them the support that they so desperately need.

Most of these special needs students are unable to communicate their wants and needs clearly- and the aides guide them with that. And a lot of the times, I've seen the peace that a calming touch can bring to a child. A sweet little boy that is in my school constantly craves touch with his aide, and I personally find it adorable because I know it makes him feel secure.

Regardless of the form that it takes, studies have shown the importance of touch to a healthy mind and proper socialization and development in disabled children.

These special children are able to hold on to and recognize our most basic need for love and affection — they also can sense the attitude of those around them and feed off of the love and joy that radiates from others, and they radiate that love in return.

Although every special needs child is different and every family is unique, there are some common concerns that link parents. These include getting appropriate care and promoting acceptance in the extended family, school and community.
So, what's the issue?
The issue is that my local School Board of Southmoreland School District decided special needs children and their aides are no longer of value or importance. The issue is that this committee is so concerned with viewing the students as dollar signs, and not beings that feel emotions. The issue is that the Southmoreland School Board will eliminate the dedicated and skilled aides that provide these special children the comfort and support they need to function.

On Thursday, March 21, 2019, my School Board held their monthly meeting. In recent times, budget has been a primary and main concern due to severe debt. This past summer, the committee decided to cut AP, college level Spanish and French classes — me being one of the students affected. Despite having all of my strenuous summer-work completed already, I let it go. I understand sacrifices have to be made in order to save money, however the decision made on Thursday is not just a sacrifice. It's more than just a sacrifice.

“This is long term, and definitely has more consequences than what we see now," Senior Raine Lookabill says. “This impacts everyone in the schools, not just the aides and special needs students."

I will not let the students who are incapable of standing up for themselves be marginalized.

There are four students I can name off the top of my head that solely depend upon certain aides for their support whenever they start feeling uneasy. It's unethical and immoral to strip these students of the familiarity they are so accustomed to after all of this time. It's heartbreaking and disheartening that the six individuals whom voted in favor of outsourcing these amazing paraprofessionals forgot how these children resist change.

In the words of Kim Huff, a Southmoreland aide, "The school board can't outsource our memories!"

It's our job as a community to help represent these children who simply cannot defend themselves in dire times like this. These children view these aides more than just a paraprofessional, instructional assistant, or an educational assistant... They are these students' superheroes.

We have a voice and it's time we start using it.
In the words of Jazmine Frost, "I bet not one person on the board has witnessed the interactions between students and their aides. This is despicable."

A point brought up by Dakota Coffman at Thursday night's meeting was the fact that little to no members of the Board have recently visited the different schools and viewed what takes place daily with these students. Their decision of outsourcing these teachers under a different company with little to no benefits and a drastic pay cut was made with no consideration of the student's needs — but isn't Southmoreland's motto "High Quality Learning For All"?

Carolyn Leonard says, "I have never seen a single school board member in our school seeing how these kids interact with these aides."
Therefore, how can they act upon this topic so quickly, yet, delay the topic of budget for concession stands?

The true test of our character comes in the wake of adversity, and if we stay silent about issues that affect us as a community, we automatically fail by default. These are the most vulnerable students in the school district and they are simply being taken advantage of.

Many students in the special education of my school are primarily nonverbal with others, and I have learned that even if a kid does not ever say a word to me, but gives me a huge high five or fist bump — it means that sometimes words are not needed. And besides, high fives are awesome!

Please remain involved in the current events and news – the only way something can change is if we, as a community, let our voices be heard and fight for what we believe in. Everyone's voice matters!

And, as always... Open the door for someone, give a high five or simply act with kindness because actions are always louder.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok was banned by the president, but Instagram is here with its newest feature called Reel. Many of us are still wondering why TikTok was being banned in the first place. Was it all the dangerous TikTok trends? It was because of a security concern, but not in the way you might think.

TikTok is owned by Dancebyte, which is a China-owned company. Basically, just like any other app, TikTok collects the user's data. The main question to ask yourself when investing in any app or marketing tools who will be owning my data? So yes, China currently owns all the TikTok user's data worldwide.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've always been a huge Disney villain fan — whether it was for their cryptic one-liners, enviable outfits, or sidekick banter. Some of the most iconic lines from cinematic history have been said by the characters we love to hate and occasionally dress up as once a year.

The fear-mongering Gaston I now find hilariously cringe-worthy is now charming and oftentimes considered by fans as rightfully justified in his actions. Die-hard fans of the Disney villain fan club claim alternate egos in their favorite evil characters, adopting their hilarious witticisms into everyday life.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been an athlete my entire life. I love movement and I've been jumping, kicking, swimming, dancing, throwing, you name it since I was in diapers. I'm also pretty competitive and probably went through a few sore loser phases. What can I say? I like to win, and losing can sometimes feel like I've failed. Especially, when your competitor is your best friend or someone that you worked all year long to defeat.

Keep Reading... Show less

I am not in any way any sort of medical expert. These are just some tricks that work for me and have worked for others who also suffer from anxiety. These may not work for everyone, but I do hope these help some people in their fight against anxiety.

Keep Reading... Show less

- I have extremely sensitive skin, which is why I have always resorted to a plant-based organic beauty line such as Radha Beauty.

- Radha Beauty won me over years ago when I was looking for organic skincare brands.

- I was so excited to see they launched a new line incorporating USDA organic rosehip oil, so when their PR team sent me some, I could not have been more thrilled.

- After a week of using the products, my face felt as smooth as a baby's, looked more glowy than ever, and even cured some of my summer sunburn.

Radha Beauty isn't just a best-selling beauty brand on Amazon — it's a USDA-certified organic beauty brand I live by, and anyone who knows me knows I am all about holistic wellness.

Typically, it only takes three days for me to tell if a skin product is working or not because I have extremely sensitive skin. It's also why I have always stuck by plant-based organic beauty lines such as Radha Beauty.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have definitely had my fair share of breakups. I broke up with my high school sweetheart my second semester of college (he was cheating on me), I had a breakup with another guy I thought I was going to marry, and others in between. Regardless of whether you're the one doing the dumping or being dumped, breakups can HURT.

Keep Reading... Show less

Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have always felt left out because of how I look and who I am. I have always felt like the elephant in the room, literally. I have always been shamed for my size. For the longest time, I cared so much about what I wear and who I wore certain things in front of. I never wanted to wear shirts that would show a lot of my arm, located above my elbow. I wouldn't wear shorts that didn't go to the tip of my knees, at least. I never wore anything remotely tight, where you could see every curve, roll, or imperfection. I was so insecure about myself, and not many of my friends knew.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Your Social Activism May Actually Benefit From A Cleansing Social Media Detox

In the craziest year of our lives, sometimes there's value in taking a break.

We are living through, unequivocally, one of the most dangerous, unstable, chaotic periods of any of our lives. From COVID-19 to crises of police brutality to the mass exploitation of the poor by mega-corporations, the world outside seems to be looking more dystopic every day. What can be done about it? For many, activism involves heavily posting on social media to keep others aware. However, this comes with a net negative cost — increased levels of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness about the state of the world. Why might this be? After all, in past eras activists have endured comparable and greater levels of abuse and relentless torment from oppressors. Why, now, are people getting so easily burnt out?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments