Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Citizenship in School"


Kliewer's article "Citizenship in school" talks about the inclusion of children with special needs into the "regular" classrooms. He mainly focuses on inclusion of those with down syndrome. He believes that there should be acceptance of those with special needs and they shouldn't be segregated from the other students in the school. While reading this article I kept thinking about "Privilege, Power, and Difference" by Johnson and "Safe Spaces" by August, that we have previously read in class. Even though August talks about LGBT issues in schools I feel like her  points can relate to any of the "underdog" groups in a school system.

Johnson states "We don't have to love one another - or even like one another - to work together or just share a space in the world" (Johnson, 6). This is a very powerful statement that Johnson makes. In schools, children with disabilities are separated from the "regular" students, not because they are disliked. I feel like this is unfair to them. Separating the students is what points out the differences between them. When students notice the differences they begin to make fun of one another; trying to get them to fully accept one another becomes little bit more difficult at this point. This quote relates to Kliewer because he states, "school citizenship requires that students not to be categorized and separated based on presumed defect" (Kliewer, 85). Including children with down syndrome can be beneficial to them and the other students. The students will be able to work together everyday and accept each other. Doing this will create a safe space. I found this really inspiring video, its about a girl, who has Down syndrome, being including on her schools cheerleading team. She was being bullied but other students stood up for her. This made me really happy because now it made her school a safe place.
The classroom is supposed to be a neutral space for everyone and some teachers try very hard to make the space neutral. "Teachers cannot legislate friendships or alliances; they cannot single handedly change minds or hearts. Educators can, however, create inclusive safe classrooms" (August 98). By including children with down syndrome, or other disabilities, into the school system can be beneficial to them and the others with out disabilities.Kliewer feels like there will become a sense of acceptance when this happens. "Such acceptance is the aim when children with Down syndrome join their non disabled peers in classrooms, and many schools and individual teachers have entered into this effort, which seeks and finds community value in all children (Kliewer 74).
After reading this article I became very interested in the topic. I decided to do some research to see if any schools actually include children with disabilities, down syndrome in particular, into their classrooms. At my old high school the children who had disabilities had their own classroom and the only time I have ever saw them was at lunch where they all sat at their own table. I also looked to see if the students were befitting from inclusion. On this website that is all about Down syndrome,  I found many interesting points. They state that children with Down syndrome put in a regular classroom do better socially and academically, and they have studies to prove it.


  1. Great Connections! I absolutely agree with you that it is not fair that students with disabilities are separated from student with no disabilities. I loved the video. :)

  2. My school was the same way where I would only see the kids with disabilities at lunch and I did not even know where their classroom was. I think getting the chance to be around everyone more and socialize would have been better for them. Nice post! :)

  3. Great job on your post! I really liked your connections and your personal opinions on the situation. Like Julienne, I agree with you that separating students with disabilities from those without isn't fair in any way for both types of students. Awesome job again! :)