Olivia is an individual first, not an individual with one label!
Hello! I am a mother to a child who is visually impaired, but she is way more than just those 2 additional words, visually impaired. She is independent, outgoing, funny and smart! She is inquisitive and imaginative. Olivia is a rising 6th grader in WCPSS and will be attending middle school next year. She also wants to attend her base school (Rolesville Middle) in our community, which includes friends from her swim team and church. Because of Olivia’s visual impairment and her use of braille, the school system has declined our request for our base school assignment. They want to place her at a VI program school away from our community and without access to social opportunities.
Some back information, many school districts like to place the VI child in the VI box (program school), instead of looking at the child’s specific unique needs and interests. Olivia is interested in chess club, community work, science and math. The program school offers only 1 club that would be available to her, which is a business club, a club not in Olivia's interest area. Olivia has earned AG status in Math & ELA, the program school offers limited opportunities for challenging her academically since they do not offer clubs in the area of science, her favorite subject! Anyone who knows a child with a visual impairment, knows that developing social skills and building friendships can be tricky due to the lack of eye contact and inability to read body language. Olivia needs to participate in clubs to be allowed to forge friendships, in a smaller group setting, friendships that could serve her for a lifetime. Our base school offers over 20 clubs and many opportunities to form friendships outside of the classroom and outside of school sports.
Middle school is hard enough. Olivia deserves to have the best experience possible while going through the most turbulent, awkward years ahead. All children deserve that opportunity!
Currently, we are in Due Process with the school system and if successful, my fight may establish a precedence for all families with visually impaired children to go to their base schools in our area. For that one reason alone, I will keep fighting. Our children deserve not to have labels slapped upon them. Olivia should be looked at individually and not simply placed in the box labeled “VI program school” solely because of her visual impairment.
Please sign our petition and add your words of encouragement to Olivia.