When you write various articles all day, every day, there is very little that can actually strike such a cord with you and stay in your mind – but Michael Kelley and his story have managed to do that for me.
Michael is a student at East High School in Wichita, Kansas. He is a student who loves basketball and plays on a school team. Michael also happens to suffer from Downs Syndrome and autism so plays for the school’s special needs team.
When Michael’s mother purchased a varsity letter and placed it onto his jacket, one absolute SOB of a parent complained to the school – because only varsity team members should be able to wear the letters on their jackets.
Witchita East High School principal Ken Thiessen could have sorted the whole situation out and frankly told the writer of the letter to go and f*ck themselves, but instead decided to join the emotional range of a teaspoon club.
We have considered (allowing special needs students to wear varsity letters) and our decision was no. That is not appropriate … because it is not a varsity-level competition.
Now it’s not often I will use the c word now Fernando Torres has left Chelsea, but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception.
Obviously that was the general consensus, with a Twitter campaign started using the hashtag #GiveThemLetters, and Michael’s sister kicked it off by tweeting:
my brother was told to remove his letter from his letterman jacket because he was special needs and did not earn it #GiveThemLetters
There was also an online petition started by Michael’s classmate Libby, that you can check out at Change.org.