The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) simply doesn’t understand kids like Jacob, kids who have challenges but are still capable of learning along side their able-bodied peers. After my article Doors Open Wide appeared in the press, the TDSB officials wanted Jacob to stop attending Elkhorn, the school where he made friends and was exposed to an age-appropriate curriculum. They were afraid of the precedent that the arrangement might set. I wanted Jacob to be a more permanent student at the school.
So began a four month ‘discussion’ that included offers of Jacob spending time in the basement of a different school so he could “watch other kids participate in phys-ed”, questions about how Elkhorn parents might react to having Jacob at the school and safety concerns raised by a TDSB representative who never met Jacob and hadn’t been to Elkhorn.
The final decision was made on July 20. The TDSB refused to allow Jacob to begin the school year with 3 days a week at Elkhorn so I decided to share this story and let people know about the discrimination we have faced with the senior staff members at the TDSB. They have chosen to ignore the recommendations of the professionals who have seen him at Elkhorn and witnessed how he interacts with the other kids and participates in the classroom. Instead, they have decided to put their bureaucracy ahead of Jacob’s needs.