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I Don't Want Compassion for Kayla

Posted Oct 15 2012 12:00am
Another article about another high school electing another student with Down syndrome to another Homecoming Court.

Despite what this article would have you believe - that it is a trend this football season to elect a student with Down syndrome to the Homecoming Court - it has been happening for years now . Yet there is still a need(?) to report it; to make a big deal out of the student body electing someone with Down syndrome to the Homecoming Court.

A quote from the article, after mentioning this 'trend' is that "...these displays of compassion are proof that people are accepting of differences."

You know what the definition of compassion is? "A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering."

So when I say I don't want compassion from Kayla's peers - I mean that I don't want them to feel so sorry for her great misfortune of being born w/Ds that to alleviate her suffering they will vote her Homecoming Princess, or Prom Queen. I want genuine and mutual respect, admiration, and friendship from her same-age peers; not for them to feel like they're doing her some great big favor to make up for her having Ds.

And this, “By seeing people’s abilities, as opposed to their disabilities, we are creating an inclusive environment for all,” but they ARE still being seen by their DISabilities - just look at the title of the article: Homecoming crown for Down syndrome girl ! She is being described as her very disability. And the fact that there is this article at all - celebrating her Homecoming crown; despite the fact she has Ds (that is the angle of the story as I read it.) The fact that these stories have to keep being reported on. Did the other members of the homecoming court have articles about them?

This isn't to take away from the joy and excitement of being crowned at Homecoming. Jasmine put herself out there and campaigned for it by making posters, giving out hand-shakes and necklaces. Good for her for going for it!

I know the alternative is worse - being excluded, mocked, bullied, made fun of - so by no means am I saying it is a bad thing to win the crown. But let's not marginalize the students with Ds by letting the rest of the student body hold them up as examples of compassionate cases. Genuinely include them throughout the school year - not just on this one big occasion of Homecoming and/or Prom, where the 'feel-good' story feels more like a 'pity' story (to me anyway).

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