Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Segregation and Discrimination - Alive and Well in St. Augustine, Florida

I so wanted this to be wrong when I saw the headline for this video a friend of mine (well, several actually) shared today on Facebook.  I felt like I was in the middle of that video with the boy who'd been to the dentist and while still coming out of anesthetic, kept asking, "Is this real life?" 

Please take a minute to watch this newscast:

Is this real?  

In 2015? 
Action News reached out to the CEO of the Girl Scouts troop in Jacksonville, and she said she wasn't aware of the situation, but said they now have a troop for deaf students. They released this statement:
As inclusion is a core value in Girl Scouts,  Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is thrilled to be working with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to establish a second Girl Scout troop at the school for day students. We partner with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to deliver the Girl Scout program to resident students. Anyone interested in volunteering as an interpreter for the second troop should contact the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council office.

Um... er... newsflash:  that's not inclusion.  Merriam Webster defines inclusion as: the act of including :  the state of being included.  Rounding up all the girls who are deaf and grouping them together is the opposite of inclusion. Yeah. Our inclusion means those girls who are deaf don't need to interact with anyone else except other kids who are deaf. 

This makes me LIVID!  (in case you hadn't already picked up on that)

 What's next?  Maybe there should be a "caucasian troop" or an "african american troop" or a "blue-eyed troop"... maybe an "asian group" get my drift.  This is absolutely abhorrent in 2015.  Girl Scouts USA you ought to be ASHAMED if this discriminatory policy is how you operate! 

I am ever so thankful that Girl Guides Canada was nothing like this and were absolutely incredible about ensuring that our daughter Kennedy was part of her neighbourhood Girl Guide Troop, from Sparks to Brownies, to Guides.  There was never a question as to whether Kennedy "could" be a part of it, she just was, from the moment she walked in the door.  What are you teaching these girls, Girl Scouts of Gateway Council?  That if you're different, you don't belong?  Or you only belong to your group. With your kind.  This makes me sick.  You need to do better.  You need to apologize to this mother and to this child and to all of the other children who have been discriminated against. I can't believe you need to be told this but holy smokes, do you ever need to be told.

Kennedy, a proud and welcomed member of her local Brownie troop (above) and Girl Guide Troop (below), who also happens to have a severe-profound hearing loss amongst other medical and sensory conditions as part of CHARGE syndrome. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015