Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 for 21: King of Fools or Gesture of Affection?

I used to enjoy all the stories of young people with disabilities that were crowned homecoming kings and queens...over the last few months I started fighting with my inner sceptical pessimist...


Are these young people getting honored or scorned?

I know some very intelligent young people and hurting "fringe" kids that are terrorized by self-appointed queen bees and whatever the equivalent male bully crowned prince is called.  They are strong, thoughtful people who know who they are.  They are not treated with respect.  They are not even left in peace, many times...  I know there are many young people with special needs that are bullied by teachers, paraprofessionals, and other students, because they can get away with it.

And yet, then I see these supposedly heartwarming stories of whole high schools that vote in peers with special needs in the honor courts and even to King or Queen of Homecoming.  Are they voted to these positions because of their magnetic personalities that manage to brighten the days around them?  I have no difficulty believing that my child and many others like her could impress her peers with her contagious joy.  Are they voted to these positions because the school craves the publicity for some reason?  Are they voted in because it is "cool" to like "kids like Becky on Glee"?  Because it was her dream on a show, are the fans extrapolating?  Are they voted in as a mass humiliation, like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as the King of Fools?

I truly hate that I am questioning this...I wish my thoughts did not go there...but they do...

And I don't even know the answer....

But I know what I hope it is...I hope, that despite their own dark moments in the abyss of high school, that young people, for whatever the trigger, are doing it from genuine affection...And whatever their reasoning, I hope that their hearts and perspectives on disabilities are touched and expanded from seeing pure unadulterated joy...


  1. Tiffany, sadly, I have had similar thoughts. I started thinking it was a publicity stunt. . . crown the kid with Ds and the news crew comes out. Is it bad that I think so negatively? In the beginning of it all, I rejoiced and thought "how wonderful!". I do not think it is for humiliation though. . . at least, I hope not. No matter the reason, I am happy that these elected teens are able to celebrate making homecoming court and maybe even king/queen.

    Colin Chase/Julia Kinder--stop spamming our blogs please. We all got the email.

  2. I am so glad that I am not the only one who worries about these things. After that story about the girl who was nominated to her school's court as a prank, I've been a tad more cynical. I do hear good things about Lakeside, so I'm hopeful that this is as heart warming as it seems.
    I know exactly why I question it. I was once nominated in an effort to get a big laugh out of a class (which it did). I'm just thankful my high school bullies weren't organized enough for it to go past that one class. When you've been on the bruised side of bullying, it is hard to believe that the popular crowd would do anything with positive motives. It does happen though.

  3. I've often wondered which way the pendulum swings on this one. And I don't know that there really *is* an answer. It could range from anything you said to any combination of what you said. Unfortunately, without asking each individual involved in the voting, there's no real way of knowing...and even if we did ask, the ones that may have done it for unsavory reasons would probably lie about it.


  4. The cynic in my agrees with you, plus I think kids are really influenced by tv so if it's on Glee somehow it's cool. But Missy wrote a thought provoking blog that said that most kids are in the middle (not the popular, not the fringe or special needs) and are voting AGAINST the Queen Bee and her brand of popularity. I know I would have done exactly that in high school and been pleased to do so.