Disabled Student Left Out of School Choral Performance
Message circulating via social media describes an incident at a school in which Alex, a student with Cerebral Palsy, was not given the chance to participate in a choral performance with his classmates. The message includes a photograph of Alex sitting in his wheelchair alone to the side while other students perform.
The incident described in the message is true and the image is genuine. The student Alex Pollard was indeed sidelined while others students sang during a performance evening at Georgia’s South Cobb High School in March 2012. The school subsequently promised to investigate the incident which it states was a “regrettable oversight”.
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Last updated: 4th April 2012
First published: 4th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
I don’t normally vent on here but I have to say something about how Alex was treated at his chorus concert tonight. First of all for those of you that don’t know Alex has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheel chair. I try to make sure that he is included in activities at school like chorus, and he love’s it and gets so excited when he gets to go to special events. Tonight we go to a special event including several other schools where the kids all sing with their class’s. So first we get there and their is no access for him to sit with his class mates because it is in the old gym and their is no wheel chair access. Then they call his school up to sing so Alex wheels his self up to the portable risers and waits on the side for Mr Graffstead to come and position him with the rest of the class…Well he never does!!! Next thing I know is the class starts singing and Alex is all by him self on the side of the risers like a spectator! The teacher has not even acknowledged him as part of the chorus…at this point I am soo mad that I can’t see straight, if I thought that Alex wouldn’t have been embarrassed I would have taken matters into my own hands.. But being the mother I am I don’t want him to feel any different than the other kids…HA!!! SO they get finished and the teacher rises his hands and motions to the other children like here is the chorus and thank you…all the while Alex is by him self not even treated like he belongs!! I am soo mad at how the teacher didn’t even think of Alex. As the teacher walks over my anger finally overtakes me and I walk up to Mr Grafstead and tell him that I have a big problem in the way he conducted the chorus and that he and the school will be hearing from me. I am attaching a photo so everyone can see just how isolated he was from the others… This is truly a travesty for the school system , I thought that my child was being treated equally all this time and he was not. Please think of all the kids and adults out there that deal with this kind of indifference. My heart is broken up over this and i hope I never have to witness this kind of neglect again!
This message, which is circulating rapidly via social media websites, blogs and email, describes an incident at a school choral performance night in which a disabled student, despite being a choir member and ready to perform, was ignored by school staff and left on his own to the side of the performance area while his classmates sang. The message, written and posted by the boy’s understandably irate mother, features a photograph of young Alex sidelined in his chair.
The description of the incident is factual and the photograph is genuine. The incident took place at Georgia’s South Cobb High School in March 2012. A March 29, 2012 news report about the incident published on 11alive.com notes:
A photo posted on the 11Alive Facebook page has prompted an outpouring of comments.
It shows choir members from several six grade schools performing Tuesday night at South Cobb High School, while wheelchair bound Alex Pollard, also a chorus member, was kept way off to the side.
Alex’s mother, Arla Jan Wilson, said she was just sure someone would roll him up to the group before the music started, but everyone seemed to completely ignore him.
Wltz.com news also reported on the case, noting in a March 30, 2012 article:
Cobb County, GA (WXIA) – A Georgia mother says her disabled child was ignored during a choir performance that he was suppose to be a part of.
Choir members from several six grade schools were performing at a Cobb County high school Tuesday night.
The 12-year old Alex Pollard is sat in his wheelchair a whole bleacher section away from the rest of his choir group.
According to the news reports, the school later issued the following statement:
It was a regrettable oversight that the student with special needs was not positioned with the rest of his schoolmates during the choral performance. The student has been a member of the chorus for the entire school year and there have been no prior issues. The choral director has cited several reasons why this occurred but accepts responsibility. The matter will be investigated and, if necessary, appropriate personnel action will be taken. That action could include a letter of reprimand and/or sensitivity training.
At the time of writing, it is unclear if this “appropriate personnel action” has yet been taken.