Mom claims special needs son was asked to remove varsity letter

Friday March 27th, 2015

A special needs student was asked to remove the varsity letter from the jacket he wore to school, his mother told WKSN TV.

Michael Kelley, a student at Wichita East High School, has Down's Syndrome and autism. Though he is not a member of the varsity basketball team, Kelly partakes in extra-curricular special needs basketball, the station reported.

Michael's mother, Jolinda, told the station that she purchased the letter and placed it on Michael's jacket after he was recognized for his participation. From the report:

“Another parent, from what I am told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket.”

The mother claims her son was asked to take that jacket off and was given a sweat shirt to wear instead.

The family says it was told only varsity teams can wear the letter according to East High’s policy.

Ken Thiessen, the principal of the school, said that teachers informed parents that they prefer Kelley not wear the letter on his jacket.

When the station asked Thiessen whether the school would consider giving special needs athletes a varsity letter, he said the school "decided that is not appropriate in our situation because it is not a varsity level competition.”

The station reported that there is no policy regarding varsity letters for the entire district, but that the district athletic director said special needs athletes were permitted to earn varsity letters when he served as a local school's AD.

[H/T For The Win]

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