Wheelchair-Bound Boy Ignored by School Choir Sparks a Revolution (PHOTO)

alex wilsonBeing different is part and parcel of being a kid with cerebral palsy. But for Alex Wilson, being different has come to mean being ignored. In a photo that has gone viral on Facebook, Wilson is the boy in a wheelchair placed a full set of bleachers away from his school's choir.

Mom Arla Jan Wilson originally posted the photo to her Facebook page with the disclaimer that she doesn't like to vent. But the sad photo, so simple and yet so startling, has become a lightning rod for parents across the nation who are more than happy to vent on Alex's behalf. What happened at the multi-school choral performance at the Georgia high school was wrong. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon.

Being separated and singled out from their peers is "normal" for these "different" kids. Just last week, a 5-year-old girl in Texas with the same diagnosis as Alex -- cerebral palsy -- made national news because her school was trying to force her into a wheelchair rather than allow her to use the walker that her doctors have said can help keep her mobile and allow her to function more like her peers.

The more these kids try to show they can do things that fit the so-called norm, it seems the more they're pushed back into the box they just punched their way out of. It's a double whammy if there ever was one.

Take Alex. His mom's Facebook "rant" (I put it in quotes because it sounds more like a good mom advocating for her child!) notes that chorus is one of the activities her son can take part in. His disability doesn't hold him back from singing. That's what makes the choral director's insensitivity -- he claims it was an "oversight" that Alex was abandoned and left alone in front of the entire crowd -- that much more heartbreaking.

Kids with special needs don't "just" need support to help them along with their daily tasks. They need to be recognized as people, human beings who deserve to do the kinds of things that their peers can do too, who are just as good and just as important. These kids should not be ignored. And thanks to the photo of Alex that's spreading like wildfire today, thanks to parents who are "ranting" on the Wilson's behalf, there's a clear message to school choirs like the one in Atlanta, Georgia that abandoned him: this is not acceptable.

Will you share Alex's story today to help fight for kids like him?


Image via Facebook

special needs, school


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Stacey. Stacey.

OMG that picture is heartbreaking, how embarassing it must have been for him. This choir instructor must be lacking a heart and brain, to clearly just push this child aside like he has no feelings. This is terrible! if I was his mom, in front of everyone, I would have went up there and said since my son is obviously not appreciated by this choir, he will find somwhere else to sing where he can participate like everyone else!

nonmember avatar Julie

I find it hard to believe that Alex being left where he was is what the teacher calls an "oversight". Even if the teacher did happen to "overlook" Alex, I would think that one of his classmates would have said something to the teacher. This picture breaks my heart.

Stacey Mehaffey Rawlings

Oversight, my foot. I am surprised that one of the kids in the choir--his friends and peers--did not point out to the teacher that he was over there.  His mom must have been so torn: leave him up there and he is left out and embarrassed, go up and say/do something and make a spectacle of herself, further embarrassing her son. A no-win situation for Mom. Poor kiddo. 

nonmember avatar OahuJen

It may seem trivial, but using terms such as "wheelchhair-bound" are not the best way to describe someone. The kindest way to describe people who may have special needs or different modes of ambulation is to use "person first" language. This is a "boy who uses a wheel chair" not a "wheelchair-bound boy." Just like you would say "a child who has Autism," rather than "that Autistic kid." And please don't get me started on reporters who describe people as aflicted or suffering from (insert disability)! Most people like to be seen as a person first rather their disability.

Jen LeMaster

I hope and pray to God that I have raised all of my sons to NOT BE NOTHING like this ...sorry waste of our oxygen of a teacher. This child has nothing to be embarrassed over. The parents of the children should for raising there kids to think this is okay in NE way! The teacher should be fired.

Flori... Floridamom96

What happened to this young man was wrong. However, why does it have to inspire a movement? Why can't we call out the one choir director and simply remind ourselves and our children to never let such a thing happen while we're around? This isn't indicative of the way all people treat others with disabilities and it shouldn't be a call to arms.

nonmember avatar Gertie

It's totally the teachers fault. How do you "not notice" that one of your students is on the other side of the room.... unless you either absolutely don't care or were "not noticing" on purpose.

Sue Wiley

The teacher should get in big trouble for that, suspended if not fired. How can we expect our kids to show compassion when the teacher doesn't show any? So sad.

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