Inclusion takes extra time

The Roanoke Times, April 22, 2007

by Greg Rooker
(from New River Forum section of the Current)

Montgomery County schools have been justifiably proud of their practive of including those with disabilities into normal school activities. Have teachers and staff had to go the extra mile? You bet they have. This higher road hasn't been easy. Inclusion takes extra time, work and patience on eveyone's part.

Ray Cox's recent column ("Don't be so quick to criticize East Mont's coaches", April 6) states we shouldn't be "quick to ctiicize" coaches and administators who denied freshman Joey Walters the opportunity to participate with Eastern Mongomery High's junior varsity bseball team.

After being the only player cut, Joey's mother asked that her son be given some role with the 11-member team, but was told "no." There was no need for a manager or any extra help.

This decision to exclude was effectively saying "no" to taking the extra time, work and patience to include this courageous youngster.

Unfortunately, Cox misses the point, as do many who work with athletics. Team sports are supposed to prepare participants to take their palce in the larger society. At least that's what coaches at every level constantly tell us.

By being excluded from team participation, Joey loses the opportunity to learn these valuable lessons. What do the rest of us lose?


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