But I have an idea how to reduce the tendency for kids to pick on each other in the first place.
There ought to be a mandatory class for elementary students. Something called Awareness and Acceptance. Something to teach them to accept people that are different from them, in any way. Something to show them how to interact and behave humanely. To teach empathy.
I guess it would fall under the category of sociology or communication. That, and maybe health.
And the special needs kids all need to be in that class. Sitting right next to the typical kids.
No, not just next to them. Interspersed through them. No kid with special needs should be sitting next to another kid with special needs.
And maybe once a week, there's a seating rotation. Something to ensure that everyone sits next to everyone else, at some point during the length of the class.
And it needs to be a whole semester long. Not just a special all-school rally, one afternoon, in the gymnasium. These kids need to be forced together in a classroom every single day for a whole semester so they really get to experience each other on a personal level.
Sort of like Partners in Policymaking is teaching me to be more aware and accepting. Because it's not necessarily my fault I don't know how to talk to the woman in the wheelchair with such several cerebral palsy that she constantly makes odd body movements and is almost impossible to understand when she talks. I've just never in my whole life been in such close proximity to people with those kind of disabilities. At least not regularly, and often enough to get used to them.
I mean, I'm going to forgive myself for my uneasiness. I think it's only natural to be uneasy around the unfamiliar. But I'm working on it. Every time I see her, I'm a little more comfortable with her.
It makes me wonder how different I'd be, if I'd grown up personally knowing some people with disabilities like her.
Which leads me to wonder how different our whole world would be, if everyone did.