BHS reaches out to all
June 2, 2011
When I read the so-called “grievances” article written about the Re-1 School District discrimination case, my jaw dropped (“Re-1 acknowledges discrimination, agrees to policy changes,” May 31, 2011, The Aspen Times).
As a 2010 graduate from Basalt High School and former classmate of Arden Sakin, I knew better than to believe what was in front of my eyes. The seemingly one-sided story failed to mention a few simple facts while bending the reality of others.
Basalt High School is and will always be, in my opinion, one of the most accepting and open-minded schools in the area we are so fortunate to live in. Basalt is one of the few schools I have seen where disabilities do not pose a problem to its learning environment. Students are not made fun of, but accepted with open arms and hearts. There is special attention and care to make sure that students with physical and learning disabilities feel like any other high school student: There are student-run clubs that promote acceptance and equality; new power-assisted front doors to the school help it become handicap-accessible; every student is encouraged to join sport teams, bands, choirs, plays, and clubs; and teachers are accommodating and understanding when approached with concerns.
The Sakin family is concerned that the school is not making their child feel “special” enough. I was under the impression that schools shouldn’t single students out but treat them equally. Why should this be changed? The Sakins are also concerned that students are not including or being very friendly to their daughter. This is a concern for every parent of a high school teenager, but the reality is: Friendship is earned, as is respect. If a person is not outwardly friendly or respectful to others, the feeling will not be reciprocated. It is not a school’s responsibility to make sure that each student is popular or has a date to the prom. That responsibility, rather, falls on the student in question.
I am very involved in the arts and am familiar with the feeling of disappointment that comes with the profession. However, concerning the spring musical, Arden was fortunate enough to receive a part in the play. Frustrated that she was not the lead role, Arden quit, forcing the cast be short-handed a member.
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Knowing the school I graduated from to be a top-notch institution, I could not believe what was being said about it. I have not met “rude and ignorant people” that find it “burdensome to accommodate” disabilities or difficulties my peers, including Arden, deal with day to day. What I see are administrators and teachers dedicating over 100 percent of their efforts to make sure their students receive a quality education. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.”
The Sakin family should count their blessings and realize that the Basalt community is only here to support them and Arden.