Before I start, let me just say that I've only had a few negative experiences in my life involving the school system, teachers, and being differently-abled. Teachers are cool in my book. Hell, my girlfriend, whom I love and have been with for 3+ years, is an elementary school teacher. Check out her teaching and cooking blog BTW, LaughEatLearn.com by the beautiful Alexis Sanchez. If I didn't give her a plug I never would've heard the end of it. So there you go babe! :) Where was I? Oh yeah, so I've never had any serious issues with teachers. But in this particular situation, I most definitely did. Now to set this up, you have to know one thing in particular. In my middle school, Washington Middle School (go Jr. Huskies), each student had 6 different classes, each separated by a 5 minute passing period to get from classroom to classroom. Now since I've been a speed demon in my wheelchair since birth, 5 minutes was plenty of time. However, once during the day, after 2nd period, I was let out of class 5 minutes early so that I had enough time to also use the restroom. I had to go all the way to the nurse's office bathroom or to the special education classroom bathroom since the "normal" boys bathroom didn't have any stalls I could fit my chair into. But that's another story for another time. So every single day I left early at the same time, and the teacher was well aware of this. I mean, how in the hell could a 12 year old, Black kid in a wheelchair, leave class early everyday unnoticed? Not possible. I didn't exactly blend in. On top of this, all of my teachers had communicated with my middle school counselors beforehand about whatever accommodations I needed in class, and this was one of them. Maybe this teacher just had a rough morning on the particular day this happened. Who knows.
So as I said, everyday I left early with no issues, and I never imagined there would be any issues. I clearly imagined wrong. Everything was totally normal up to this particular point. I came to class and did what I needed to do. However, that changed about 30 minutes into the period. So on this particular day, Ms. Smith announced to the class that we were having a test based on the words that she had given out. Instantly a red flag went off. What words?!? I asked her about the words she was referring to. "The words I've been giving to the class during the last 5 minutes of class each day," she replied. I reminded her that I leave class early everyday, so I didn't have the words. Not only that, I was never informed of the words at any time. Therefore I couldn't be expected to take the test at that time. She then replied to me "well that's your problem!" Seriously?!? She said this to a 12 year old! I was totally lost for words. What the fuck does a 12 year old say to that? It's my problem that I have to leave early to have enough time to use the restroom? Wow. Just then, my friend Pierre, one of my best friends still to this day, stood up. Unexpectedly, he then defiantly said to her, "my friend said that he can't take the test." I wasn't expecting him to do that at all. But whatever, I'm not mad at it. What was most shocking though was what happened next. The teacher then replied to my friend and I, and I'm not embellishing one bit, "well then you and your friend can get the hell out of my classroom!" Yes, you're reading this correctly. She actually said this to us in front of the whole classroom. Every time I think about this story I just have to laugh. It's just so crazy that this actually happened. In middle school. We were just kids! Pierre then replied while still standing, "well then me and my friend will get the hell out of your classroom." We then stormed out of the class and Pierre slammed the door behind us. We made the dramatic exit right? So after we left the class, we just kind of floated around until our next class period, and the day went as usual. However, I told my parents and my counselor later that day about the whole situation. To make an even longer story short, my parents, counselor, and the teacher, had a meeting later in the week. My parents never had and never would go for that shit. Period. And what happened is the teacher apologized, she made some changes so that I was given every opportunity to succeed like everyone else, and I eventually completed and passed the class.
So in a nutshell, this was a crazy experience for any 12 year old to have. Especially a 12 year old boy that already has insecurities around being in a wheelchair. Like I stated earlier, I wasn't actually kicked out of class for being cripple, but it's safe to say that if I didn't have to leave class early everyday this situation would've never happened. So it kind of boils down to if I wasn't differently-abled, I wouldn't have needed the extra time everyday, and the whole test words drama would've never taken place. Hence, getting kicked out of class as a result of an accommodation I needed because I'm differently-abled. Ridiculous! But I really wouldn't take it back for anything. It's situations like this that taught me early in life that while I have great people in my life, first and foremost I have to be my own greatest advocate. Plus, it showed me how even a middle school teacher can be cold blooded, so I'm never surprised at how some people act. And on top of all of that, because of it, I can tell all of you about another one of my ridiculous experiences. And some people say school is boring. Cripple Please!