Some People Should Not Work With Children

, , , , , , | Learning | February 24, 2019

I work with kindergarten students with special needs. A majority of the students I work with are on the autism spectrum, and because this school is small, every staff member who has been around for a long while knows my students. The cafeteria staff is also well aware, and knows most of the students by name, especially kindergarteners.

I was in line with one of my girls on the spectrum, who normally is very self-sufficient and doesn’t need me one-on-one very often. I just happened to be with her for lunch due to my other students being out of school, or not in lunch at that time.

Lunch was hot dogs, with optional chili and optional cheese. Unbeknownst to me, students weren’t allowed to get cheese unless they had chili. My student only wanted cheese, so she poured some melted cheese onto the hotdog, just in time for the lunch lady to yell at her from across the room, “No chili, no cheese!”

My student started bawling for fear of being in trouble.

The lunch lady then took the hotdog off her plate and placed a plain one on it, mumbling about students not paying attention and wasting food.

I had another member of cafeteria staff make fun of one of my boys on the spectrum, who is self-sufficient and will get his own items, even if it means returning items an adult placed on his tray. When I mentioned that he had OCD, the staff member rolled her eyes and proceeded to mock him.

Both students were six years old at the time of these stories.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that prison orange is not my color and that these students need me more.

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