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Going Out On A Limb Here, But They’ll Be Fine

, , , , , , | Learning | May 31, 2019

I am a speaker brought in to talk about bullying in the elementary school after the fourth grade has had multiple problems with it. I have three assemblies this morning: first grade, second and third grades, and fourth and fifth grades. During the second and third grade assembly, I am going through my usual points, and I ask, “How many of you know someone with a disability?” My followup question was going to be about whether or not they treat them just like everyone else, within reason.

I see two girls near the middle row both sticking up their hands, one blonde-haired and one black-haired, and I choose the blonde. She rises to speak and I see that she is a double amputee, missing an arm from near the shoulder and a leg from near the hip — she is wearing a prosthetic. I am expecting her to talk about herself, so it is quite surprising when she says, “My cousin has hearing aids ’cause she can’t hear properly, and glasses ’cause she can’t see properly, and she’s really shy about it.”

Looking proud of herself, the girl sits down. Meanwhile, the black-haired girl sitting next to her hugs the blonde and then blurts out, “Well, my best friend has one arm and one leg!”

The blonde girl gets a look that clearly says, “Oh, yeah!” on her face. Then, one boy sitting in the front row turns around and yells, “[Girl] isn’t disabled! She’s just [Girl]!” The rest of the front half of the room yells their agreement, and the black-haired girl gives the best “I’m surrounded by idiots” face I’ve ever seen from a child. I doubt that the second and third grades are going to have much trouble with bullying in the near future.

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