I’m a big fan of the Blue Collar Comedy guys and love Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” stories and Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Know You’re a Redneck…” bits. Sean has always outsmarted all of us adults. I frequently explained to his teachers that to teach Sean was easy, as long as they were smarter than him. But when he hit seventh grade and I began documenting the outrageous behavior the educators and administrators were exhibiting, I kept thinking to myself, “Sean’s not the slow learner here.”
He had a Positive Behavior Management Plan (PBMP) that clearly outlined what would trigger an undesirable behavior, but they refused to implement the plan. The result was them constantly triggering outbursts from him, then justifying their attempts to remove him from regular education by using those outbursts as “proof” he shouldn’t have been fully included in their regular education classes. After I filed an IEP Compliance Complaint they attempted to change his motivators from video game and television time to raisons and cherrios I knew they were the ones who were taking much longer to learn than Sean was–he was in 7th grade, not kindergarten.
When we skipped 8th grade to avoid more hostility and went on to the high school the educators were a little more stealth, but after violating Sean’s civil rights five times I decided enough was enough and filed a Civil Rights Complaint. That’s when I thought this could be a book—you can’t make this stuff up! But I realized it would be a big downer to just write about the negatives, and the elementary school experience had been textbook brilliant. The amazing elementary school experience coupled with the great students Sean went to school with are the greatest testament to the powers of inclusion.
Sean’s high school classmates were his biggest advocates and went to bat (literally) for him in high school…they saved his job as assistant to the baseball team, and got him into the Drama class play at the last minute when the teacher had not cast him in a role. So, the contrast between good and evil began. It took me seven years, two re-writes and several rounds of editing, but the book is now available for purchase as of this week. I hope you enjoy it, learn from it and if you are an educator, never ever pull any of the tricks that the secondary educators did.