Friday, November 14, 2014
I always love it when I meet someone like Christopher Abel and his family. Christopher is a twelve-year-old, sixth grade student in the Cobb County school district. Like most twelve-year-olds, Christopher is busy with school, homework, reading, tae kwon do practice, jujitsu practice, playing chess, studying for the school wide spelling bee and hanging out with his family and friends. Unlike most twelve-year-olds, Christopher was born blind. Unfortunately, Christopher’s parents Patty and David have been fighting Cobb County school system officials in court because they’re trying to keep their son in the middle school he’s zoned for near his home in Acworth. The district wants to put him in a middle school located an hour’s drive (each way) from their home. For years, Cobb County has segregated special needs students from students, who don’t have developmental disabilities, a harmful practice to students and not in line with federal law. Students with disabilities under federal law are entitled to an education in the “least restrictive” setting from which they can benefit, which is typically understood to be the most integrated one. All of this aside, getting to talk and visit with Christopher was a treat. The sixth grader was nothing but positive about his life, which was very refreshing and a great example of overcoming adversity!