The Citizens' Voice - - EDITORIAL - Wap­wal­lopen

in­clu­sion fun­da­men­tally arises from fear. Fear that chil­dren’s needs will not be met, par­tic­u­larly if said chil­dren’s needs are in­tense and com­plex. Fear that chil­dren will in­ter­nal­ize the wrong mes­sages. Fear that by draw­ing at­ten­tion to dif­fer­ences, chil­dren will be harmed. This fear pre­vents our chil­dren from grow­ing into sen­si­tive, re­spect­ful, and eth­i­cal adults. This fear is toxic for our fam­i­lies and our com­mu­ni­ties. It is only by let­ting go of this fear and ac­tively un­do­ing the dam­age from seg­re­ga­tion in the form of spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ser­vice de­liv­ery and cul­tur­ally in­sen­si­tive teach­ing that we will be able to ac­tu­al­ize in­clu­sion.

Let us put our hearts, souls, and minds to­gether in this ef­fort. Ac­tively in­vite young peo­ple from marginal­ized en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing young peo­ple with sig­nif­i­cant dis­abil­i­ties, to the ta­ble in plan­ning, de­sign­ing, and ex­e­cut­ing fully, rad­i­cally, au­then­ti­cally in­clu­sive schools. Most-im­por­tant of all, let go of the fear and re­al­ize that when we solve the predica­ment of this sys­tem as it presently-ex­ists — even with a cou­ple of baby steps to be­gin — that our world be­comes far-more hu­mane than it is in the present.

Cas­san­dra Cooper

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