WICHITA, Kansas (KSNW) — A Wichita woman claims her special needs son was asked to remove his letter jacket at school.
The student, Michael Kelley, has Down syndrome and autism. Kelley is not a varsity athlete but participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball.
His family bought him a varsity letter like the other kids wear, but recently, his mother says he was asked to not wear the jacket. …
KSN talked to his mother Jolinda Kelley. She says Michael, her adopted son, is one of a kind and loves to play basketball.
When he was recognized for participating, Jolinda bought a varsity letter and put that letter on the jacket.
She was shocked when she says he was asked at school to take the jacket off.
“Another parent, from what I am told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket.” …
East High Principal Ken Thiessen says, “Teachers told the parents they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket. … We decided that is not appropriate in our situation because it is not a varsity level competition.”
So we can pretty much close down the polling places and call the election, correct? The results are in. This anonymous parent and the administrators of Wichita East High School win the “Worst People in America” vote in a landslide.
How exactly did the conversation between that parent and Principal Thiessen go? Did this mom or dad make a compelling case that Michael Kelly wearing a letter jacket somehow diminishes her/his kid’s own accomplishments? Does it somehow cheapen anyone else’s athletic careers if a kid on the special needs team is allowed to feel like he’s on varsity? Will lives be destroyed because the kid is allowed to be happy?
I’d give anything to hear the argument they used to justify tearing the jacket off Michael’s shoulders. Like them weighing the pros and cons. “I recognize that letting him wear the jacket brings joy into his otherwise difficult and challenging life. But at what cost, Principal Thiessen? I ask you, at what cost???”
And let’s make no mistake: The real monster here is Theissen. In a school with hundreds of students, you’re always going to get a parent who’s a complete dickbucket. That’s just human nature mixed with math. But there’s no reason he had to let these evil, self-absorbed narcissists win. The whole mission of being in charge of anything is to listen to all sides and make a reasonable decision. And the only rational response to someone busting into your office demanding you crush the dreams of a kid like Michael Kelly is to tell them to get lost, go piss up a rope and consider themselves lucky you don’t out them to the whole community for the heartless jagoff she or he is.
So best of luck to the entire Kelly family. And please consider signing this petition on Change.org to give Michael his jacket back. Now excuse me while I weep for my nation.