To Whom It May Concern,
I’m the mother of the child you thought could be overlooked today. You know the child, the one who was suppose to get on the bus with all of her classmates to attend a field trip that she had been looking forward to all week.
And why didn’t Olivia get on the bus? Oh that’s right, because the accessible bus the school had requested from your company apparently was out of service, however you failed to communicate this with school faculty ahead of time. Yeah you thought it best to just go ahead and send one of the “regular” buses.
Well let me tell you something. While Olivia watched each child get on that bus, patiently waiting her turn, then oh that’s right….she couldn’t….her little heart broke. Yes you read that right. YOU BROKE MY DAUGHTER’S HEART! She watched as all of her friends left…without her.
Olivia was left behind, waiting for ANOTHER bus…an accessible bus. Do you know she cried? Do you know that entire time waiting, which probably felt like forever to her, my little girl cried out of feelings of exclusion.
How does that make you feel? I hope you feel like shit!
I’m aware our principal stressed her frustrations to you. (You are goddamn lucky it wasn’t me on the other end of that receiver) AND I’m aware you have apologized for the “misunderstanding” and have offered to make it up to the class. Well isn’t that big of you? Great.
Well you will forgive me if I can’t just let it go so easily. Instead I am taking this opportunity to help you understand the message of your actions.
Throughout these last four years of Olivia’s life, we have strived to achieve full inclusion for her in EVERY WAY! We have worked diligently for others to look beyond her disability and to see her! We have advocated equality at every corner. Olivia has participated in every activity our family participated. We sent her to a school that promotes full integrated classrooms. So today, with the “misunderstanding”, for the first time Olivia felt unequal, excluded, and different.
I hope this message finds you and you read through these words VERY carefully. I hope next time, if there is a next time; that you will utilize your communication skills in the form of a phone call. It’s that simple. It would have taken you five minutes to prevent the emotional ride you sent my daughter on this morning. Please remember, an ounce of compassion goes a long way!
PS This is the smile I want you to remember.