Kinley Gaudette 0

No More Isolating Students With Assistive Devices!

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Something that has always been very important to me is the involvement of people with IDDs in the community. I am a firm believer that people deserve equal opportunities regardless to the hand of cards that they were dealt. I play on my school's unified basketball team, a team where students with disabilities are blended with their peers into a basketball team and are able to compete with other schools. I was appalled to find out that the reason my teammate, who is in a wheelchair, has only been playing at the very end of our games is not because it was a choice he made. It's because there is a new NFHS mandated rule stating that players with assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.) can not participate in any school sports, including unified sports. I am completely repulsed by this. The extension of our games, in which he's been playing, is not counted as part of the game. It is considered scrimmage or else our school would be sanctioned by the NFHS and would not be allowed to run any sports for an entire year. The entire purpose of unified sports is to create equal opportunities to be a part of a team, to learn new skills, to compete, and to receive support from the community. That's why it's called UNIFIED. So how can there possibly be any circumstance where it is okay to isolate students who have a certain disadvantage? A human being is a human being and that's all there is to it. Nobody, for any reason, should be discriminated against and categorized separately like that. It is hurtful, degrading, inappropriate, dehumanizing and completely goes against the purpose of unified sports. My heart breaks for any student who because of this rule has suffered a loss of confidence, has felt inferior to the rest of the kids on their team, or has felt that they were singled out and labeled for their disability. It is time to put an end to this very offensive guideline. Please sign this petition if you agree that no human should be discluded from the experience of high school athletics because of a disability.

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