Dear Boardman Board of Education,
Which kid would have mattered to you?
Which kid in your eyes would have made the staple to their head be classified as abuse?
My fear is the incident in Boardman, Ohio is setting an example that abuse is only abuse when it happens to a certain kid.
So, as a sibling to a brother with a disability, a parent of two boys, and a former special education teacher – I ask, which kid needs to have a note stapled to their head for it be considered abuse?
The Boardman Board of Education and Police Department already responded that it’s excusable, and brushed the incident under the rug when it’s a kid with autism- who can’t communicate the impact the staple to his head made.
Did the kid need to be in a certain class?
Did they need to be the star athlete?
Did their parents need to have money?
Did the kid need to be able to make a viral TikTok video on the impact the staple had, which would result in negative publicity for the school?
Or did it need to be the superintendent’s kid?
Is abuse not abuse if the suspect has a clean record and they didn’t mean to?
Or is that only the case when that person is working with students with disabilities? They get the pass?
Why do I have so many questions that need to be answered?
Because today many parents raising children with disabilities lost hope in the people that are meant to provide a safe place of learning.
I am asking because 15 years ago my brother with a disability didn’t matter either. He was placed in a refrigerator box as timeout.
When will it matter to you?
You had the opportunity to get it right and not only did you fail the little boy who had the note stapled to his head, you failed to lead our society to demand and expect more.
Your response mattered to more than just that student.
So I ask you to do me a favor…grab a post-it note and write this question on it as a reminder of the impact you have made…
“Which kid would have mattered?”
But instead of stapling it to your head, gently place it on your agenda, because I have respect for others no matter how much they have disappointed me.
Sincerely, Amanda Owen
Written by, Amanda Owen
Amanda Owen is the author and podcaster behind Pieces of Me. She is the founder and executive director of Puzzle Pieces, a nonprofit organization serving those with intellectual disabilities.
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