This week we’ve been collecting a trail of ideas but nothing has really been sticking. However, if we just waited for them to get bigger, we don’t really think we’d ever let these posts see the light of day.
We have to talk about the Walk Out
Please don’t groan about this. We do have to talk about it. We need to talk about the importance of how staff should conduct themselves when they do or do not believe in a position. Especially one that can be as emotionally charged as being connected to the deaths of students and staff—17 people arrived in Florida the morning of February 14th unaware that they would not be going home that day.
Yesterday was the nationwide walk out. Folks can be all over the map when forming their opinion. Not because their thoughts are disorganized, but because of where they stand on the myriad of issues that accompany this walk out.
There are great things that some districts did and there are some eyebrow raising things some districts did.
What all paraeducators need to know:
- As a school employee, you should remain neutral for most actions. For some folks this is hard. If you can finish this sentence “I believe…” then you know your convictions and your beliefs. And these probably don’t waver much for any instance. Especially with a politically charged issue. But your neutrality is important. You don’t know what a student’s family believes. You don’t know which students believe what necessarily. You can reasonably guess most times, but sometimes students will surprise you. You need to be able to handle deep conversations as a conduit for students to feel safe voicing their opinion on either side—like this one is providing to many schools across the country.
- All students have the right to protest in the United States. This is not a matter of opinion. This is a fact established in law by the United States Supreme Court in a case called Tinker vs. Des Moines. It’s actually considered a landmark case. There are many quick reads about this case. Enjoy the side escape to read this case. However, it is important to note that the protest may not be disruptive to the school (ex: vandalism), the education of students, and that all students participating or not participating not feel threatened by the protest. The establishment of the boundaries is left up to administration.
- Above all else, this is a clear reminder that we don’t always know what another person experiences. Everyone has stresses, or secrets they do not share with other folks. Be kind, be careful, and be alert.
- Review your evacuation procedures, know how to move students who are quite sensitive to noise or irregular disruptions.
We weren’t surprised that Renay did not really know a lot about Hawking until around 1990 after his book arrived in the United States. It was somewhat mystifying to read the words of a man and then learn that he was using a digital AAC.
Fast forward, inadvertently, technology’s rise has made access and types of AAC more affordable and accessible to many more people and more widely recognizable. More people who need speech expressed digitally or visually are able to share their thoughts now than ever before.
We were sad to hear of his passing yesterday. We know of his contributions to the world of science and especially physics only scratched the basic understanding of most people. We know the lives of those who work in science are only richer because of the things he was able to explain and understand.
As found in the BBC article “Hawking: Did He Change Views On Disability” by James Gallagher, Gallagher quotes Hawking’s New York Times interview where he stated the following: “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically,”
We know that Hawking was not necessarily at the forefront of disability rights, but his advocacy made the difference; his presence and contributions to the world will not be forgotten.
Spring Break is on the horizon!
We are so close we can hear that Friday bell in every dream we have every night. Nine solid days of being generally unaccountable to work sounds great this time of year. ParaEducate will be off for March 29 and April 5 to return April 12. But we’re also very aware that it is testing season right after Spring Break so keep things ready. So enjoy the beach, the snow, your backyard, your photography trip, or the time with your family.
We talked about Vacation, so we must be done with things…
No! Nicole Eredics’ book, “Inclusion In Action” is being published soon! We’re so excited. Please share with not just your special education friends, but those in general education as well.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out these folks who really like Nicole’s book already!
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. Paraeducate is a company interested in providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published weekly during the academic school year on Thursdays, unless a holiday. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.