'Shame and Embarrassment:' School Forced Special Needs Kids to Dig through Trash for Recyclables
Outrage over a first day school assignment which for years has required special needs kids at Patriot Valley High School in California's Riverside County to dig through the trash in search of recyclable items, has prompted the mother of one child to speak out against the unsavory act, and resulted in the temporary suspension of the activity.
"My kid should not be in the garbage can for your recycling," said Carmen Wells according to CBS Los Angeles. "The shame and the embarrassment for the children, it hurts," she said. Wells discovered the assignment when her special needs son, Marcus, came home from the first day of school looking very upset.
When she asked him what was wrong, he revealed to her that he and several other special needs classmates were told to put on gloves and rummage through "a filthy trash can to pull out bottles and cans for recycling." Wells noted that she "felt victimized for my child and his classmates."
Jurupa Unified School District officials conceded that the activity which
they deemed to be part of an educational training program -- part of
which is aimed at teaching special needs kids about how to better manage
money, among other life skills -- has been going on at the school for years, notes CBS.
School officials issued a response to the backlash. Part of it read, "yesterday, a parent new to the school expressed concern about the way in which students collected the recyclable materials... In response, the school temporarily suspended the activity in order to review the current process and consider changes."
Following the backlash, the district reportedly said that they will likely get recycling bins so that the students will no longer need to rummage through the trash, CBS notes.