Inclusion: Only In Spec-Ed?

“Inclusion is not primarily a special education, or even an education, issue. It is a fundamental way of seeing and responding to the human difference for the benefit of everyone involved” (p.4) (page 11).

Inclusion is being pushed so much in school but to me inclusion is a part of my life. I was brought up to make others feel welcome, to help others in need and it never crossed my mind when I was younger that this wasn’t the case. As I have grown older I have noticed that the world is not as inclusive as it seemed when I was just a child. In my first year of teacher’s college I learned about residential schools and how indigenous people were treated. It was shocking and rather unsettling to know that in a Country that is so built on inclusion of all peoples that residential schools ever happened. I felt like I had been lied to, I felt ashamed of my heritage for the first time. Then, recently when I went to Philadelphia in October I noticed again the feeling of being excluded and judged. My boyfriend at the time (now fiancée) and I were with other friends at a thanksgiving festival. I noticed people staring at my boyfriend and I making sneering looks and looking disgusted. I told my fiancée that people were looking at us and he just replied calmly, “ I know”. I asked him why to which he replied, “ its because we are an interracial couple”. I thought to myself what does that have to do with anything?… Just because he is black and I am white people judge us. I didn’t notice it so much when I was in Canada but to think that just walking around in public can make someone feel excluded..was odd. I felt terrible for my fiancée, and angry.  In order for inclusion to truly be seen in school, it first needs to be seen in our community, in our province, in our country, and in our world. Sadly, there are many people who discriminate against others for things that they cant even help. People do not choose to be black, or handicapped, or have learning disabilities, or be female. It’s how they are born, or situations that happen. Inclusion is not primarily a special education, it is a way of living.

Hutchinson, N., & Martin, A. (2012). Inclusive Classrooms in Ontario Schools. Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada. 1-22.

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