Dear Jakey,

I had a meeting today with other moms from Ethan’s school to discuss the yearbook. It was a fine meeting with some really nice women. But I left with a weird feeling – kind of like a pit in my stomach. This seemingly innocent yearbook meeting left me with a somewhat definitive feeling that sending you to the program at Division Street would be a mistake for next year. It made me sad because I had secretly held on to the idea that while both my boys might never be able to be at the same school, maybe they could both be in Saratoga Springs Public Schools.  Now ,don’t get me wrong, nobody was explicitly mean or if they met you, would be anything but kind or sympathetic. But it was the more implicit comments that could almost go unnoticed. Unnoticed unless you have a kid that makes people look twice. Now, Jake, I tend to believe that people look twice because you have been blessed with incredible good looks. What I wouldn’t give to trade your good looks for good health – but that is another story.

Anyways, having never seen a previous year’s yearbook, I thought it looked great when I flipped through. There was clearly effort made to include all kids with tons and tons of candid shots. Or so I thought. I got to a page for Mrs. Cook’s class and I saw five students. They all looked great in their classroom photos but I didn’t notice a lot  (if any)of  the candid photos in the area below  – as was the format for every other class. And the reason this stands out to me is that Mrs. Cook is the special ed teacher. Now I clearly could have missed some pictures but I don’t think I did. And I think it is because the kids not in the typical classrooms are  not entirely made to be a part of the school.

When we first discussed Division Street as a possible option for you, Daddy expressed worry that it would provide opportunity for people to be mean and make fun of you. Oddly my answer was disturbing in itself. I said how having grown up around here, I never even saw the special ed kids so there would be little to no opportunity for them to be made fun of. It wasn’t until I said that out loud that I realized that in and of itself was a problem. We live in a society that doesn’t want to acknowledge that which they don’t understand or that might make them uncomfortable. It is better to ignore. And as your proud mama, I don’t want you swept under the rug and ignored. I want you to be embraced and challenged and loved and I now think that Prospect will do that for you – even if it means a longer car ride.

I tell you this Jake, not to make you sad, but to make you confident that we will do our best to always protect you. And that while I think you teach people so much, I will never use you as a vehicle to make people better – they need to figure that out for themselves and think about their words and actions a little bit more.