Well, that was no surprise.
Mars called Parkland Schools Monday morning. The woman he needed to talk to wasn’t available, so he left a message.
She called him back at 4:50 p.m. But then, I guess she knew it doesn’t take long to say, “No. Absolutely not. No way. Huh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen.”
She said they’ll only sponsor children with certain types of disabilities (i.e. hearing impaired and severe behavior problems), and only to three specific schools. They don’t make exceptions, she said.
Mars asked who had the authority to make an exception, and she gave him a name: the name of our nemesis. She suggested we call that person.
My first response was a bad word, followed with, ”No. Absolutely not. No way. Huh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen.”
My second response, however, was more on the lines of, “Bring it on!”
Because here’s the thing: my daughter is gifted. She danced for years, and has a compelling presence onstage. She has an amazing imagination, and writes great fiction, with fascinating details and imagery. I think she’d be fabulous at drama — and acting or writing offer two of the few areas in which she has the potential to have a notable life by anyone’s standards.
If she were a “typical” child (I’m using “typical” in the American way here, to mean a child without an IEP/IPP, not the “Canadian” way in which “all” children are “typical, /sarcasm), her registration would have been accepted without hesitation.
Here is what makes me most enraged: My daughter cannot attend a performing arts school specifically because she is disabled.
How is that not discrimination? How can that possibly be legal?
Oh, I know, it’s not a rule, per se, that she can’t go, it’s just that the money (which she needs) doesn’t follow her.
But I repeat: how is that not discrimination???
Picture two children — exactly alike, except the first is disabled in one some way (a way that does not limit her art) and the second is not. Both are equally gifted in the arts (pick one: visual, music, drama, pottery, whatever). The first is not allowed to register because she is disabled.
It’s discrimination against the disabled population, and it’s not right.
This battle is worth fighting.
Oh, I doubt we’ll win, at least not in time for her to actually attend Victoria. My heart is broken — she was so excited, and now we’re back to wondering what to do and where to go. And even less likely to trust the administrators we’ll have to deal with.
But this battle is still worth fighting because this kind of discrimination should not be policy, especially not policy blessed by the provincial government.