Child with autism not allowed to participate in school graduation ceremony

schoolGrand Rapids, Michigan – Dickerson Elementary School has a special needs program and Anthony Betts, a six year old kindergardener, is one of these children. His mother Ebony Betts spoke out when she found out there would be no graduation ceremony for her son or his classmates.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) decided it would be in the best interest of the special needs class not to attend the ceremony. There rational is that the ceremony is large, loud and can be overwhelming for those with an autism disorder.

Ebony Betts has asked to have the graduation ceremony reviewed to allow special need children to participate. She does not want her son to miss the joy of accomplishment. She has asked the GRPS to review their decision and perhaps allow a classroom graduation at the very least next year. She said,

“I’m not putting blame on the teacher, or the principal, or on the school. I just would like the Grand Rapids Public Schools to look into the matter and go about their polices and change the way they do things. I think all kids should be recognized.”

John Helmholdt spokesperson for GRPS said,

“As a team, we are going to go back: What did we learn from this? What can we take from this concern? …. That’s our takeaway”

The original report can be found on website here.