In a heartbreaking story that an anonymous mom posted on MumsNet, it would appear a little boy with autism is suffering a great social injustice.
We needed to hear about this.
"I am quite willing to be told I am [being unreasonable]," began the mom, known as "Penguincake" on the forum.
"My son has Autism and can occasionally push children when he is panicked. He has been doing a lot better recently and his teacher has said he is forming good relationships. However I understand that some children might be wary of him."
The mom went on to say that as the school year has gone on, her son has been excluded from other children's birthday parties:
"He has been in reception since September and has not been invited to a single party. I totally accept a parents choice in not having a child who pushes at their child's party. "
But there's an unexpected twist: the teacher's involvement in the exclusion:
"What does hurt though is when there is a party, the class teacher or TA stands at the door at class time with a big wedge of invitations and gives them to each child as they leave. Yet again today they had a stack of invitations and my son was the only one walking out without one. He has started to question why he doesn't get a 'card'. It all feels so bloody thoughtless and cruel.
"I think class teachers should refuse to hand out invites unless everyone is invited," she finished.
"Or maybe I should just suck it up and reconcile myself to the fact that for my son and I that this is the way of the world."
Ironically enough, this story breaks just as Betsy DeVos, the current controversial Secretary of Education, announced cuts to autism funding and to the Special Olympics in her new budget proposal.
Cuts to autism funding and ending all for @SpecialOlympics is outrageous. When I was chair of the House Budget Cmte… https://t.co/d73DsdMgJb— John Kasich (@John Kasich) 1553652984.0
@JohnKasich @SpecialOlympics My son would not be graduating with a 4 year degree in Engineering if these cuts had been made ten years ago.— Rob Anderson for Louisiana (@Rob Anderson for Louisiana) 1553690573.0
@JohnKasich @chatham58 @SpecialOlympics I never thought that I’d agree with John Kasich, but here we are.— Pete🇺🇸🇺🇸💍💍💍💍💍💍 (@Pete🇺🇸🇺🇸💍💍💍💍💍💍) 1553690474.0
@JohnKasich Thank you for always supporting the developmentally disabled here in Ohio— Jane Atwood (@Jane Atwood) 1553655846.0
Hey ummm everyone I'm for autism rights and they matter! https://t.co/u8DEudbz69— NabibbleJr. (@NabibbleJr.) 1553650619.0
good morning and have an awesome wednesday to everyone except Betsy DeVos who is trying to cut funding for the Spec… https://t.co/tb9Pou7mEi— diana (@diana) 1553699087.0
Parents on Mumsnet were quick to respond that, no, the mom is not being unreasonable in any way:
"I have never heard of teachers giving out party invitations. I don't think they should get involved in social events. If I was a teacher I would refuse - parent should negotiate this awkward minefield alone."
"That's really cruel. They should be popped into book bags if teachers are giving them out."
"I'm a teacher and we're not allowed to give out invites for precisely this reason."
Sec. DeVos: "We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget." Rep. Pocan: "I have two nephews with autis… https://t.co/3TRSrUHDft— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1553691520.0
Betsy DeVos is one of the most terrible people. If she gets her way this is what will get gutted: $18M - special… https://t.co/VjJerRBZI2— Molly (@Molly) 1553700628.0
This is the Trump/Devos budget. Eliminate Special Olympics funding. Cut $51 million for autism. Cut independent liv… https://t.co/y2YCimpPuz— Andy Slavitt (@Andy Slavitt) 1553637662.0
my mom (a principal at a school for kids with autism) coming in hot with perhaps the only appropriate response to B… https://t.co/onKPmamXRR— Casey Tomchek (@Casey Tomchek) 1553643742.0
Mumsnet user TwinkleMerrick stepped in with:
"I'm a teacher and I agree with you."
"It's opening a whole can of worms to hand out invitations for events that are not linked to school. But perhaps the teacher has not realised that your son has not been invited to any parties (I bet he isn't the only one), perhaps they think they are doing a favour for the parents. More likely it is a way of them managing the situation rather than the children handing out invitations out at the start of the day when they are trying to settle the group and get the children in the school/learning frame of mind."
"I find it's always better to offer a solution when presenting a concern to someone. Have a quiet word with the teacher, understand they are busy people and that you can see they are trying to control the group while handing out invitations and ask if it could be done in a different way so your son doesn't feel left out. Do the children have trays? Could they be put directly into trays instead? Then children can collect them themselves at the end of the day."
"Good luck xx"
BREAKING: File this one under "Things I'd expect from this vile administration." Under Trump's new budget Betsy De… https://t.co/6S8xWUPKCK— Brian Krassenstein (@Brian Krassenstein) 1553631600.0
BREAKING: Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is cutting $51 million from Autism programs and completely elimin… https://t.co/u0smPF9ozO— 𝚋𝚊𝚡𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚗 (@𝚋𝚊𝚡𝚝𝚎𝚛 𝚋𝚎𝚊𝚗) 1553627613.0
Do y’all know how hard it is already to get services for kids with special needs? Education Secretary Betsy DeVo… https://t.co/zmVocMkm37— Ventura (@Ventura) 1553642006.0
I am officially irate. Betsy Devos and Donald Trump cutting $51 million from Autism related educational programs!?… https://t.co/2QMrZwH0yT— Cody (@Cody) 1553648677.0
Finally, the mom thanked the others for their responses.
"Thank you for all of your replies. I have been reluctant to say anything to the class teacher as it is me not my DS who is upset by this. He doesn't understand that the cards are invitations."
She then wondered if she should set the example gesture:
"I am very grateful for the support I have received in this thread. From those who have experienced this. Is it worth me doing a whole class invite when it is my sons birthday (July) to encourage them to invite him next year?"
We definitely think so!
We'll be following this story as closely at Betsy DeVos' budget cuts.