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Second grader in wheelchair set apart from classmates in school photo

Second grader in wheelchair set apart from classmates in school photo . .By Jordana Divon Contributing Writer .Posts .By Jordana Divon | Shine On –

Miles Ambridge is visibly segregated from his classmates in his Grade 2 photo. (Photo via The Province)Class photos usually end up on the family fridge, but the snapshot Anne Belanger received of her son’s Grade 2 class in New Westminster, B.C. went straight back into the envelope in which it arrived. The mother of Miles Ambridge was heartbroken to see that her seven-year-old boy, who has spinal muscular atrophy and, as a result, must use a wheelchair, had been placed, chair and all, far off to the side from the rest of his classmates. This physical distance emphasizes the fact that he’s not included in the group, Belanger tells The Province, and the photo serves as the most egregious example so far. “Look at the angle that he was in,” she says, referring to the way Miles is clearly craning his body toward the other children to get closer to them in the shot. “He’s ostracized. He wants to be part of the gang so much.” Even worse, she says, the placement decision was made by the adults who organized the photo. “Kids can be cruel but this comes from adults, which is even worse,” Belanger adds. “Adults should know better.” Also see: Police probe Nigella Lawson 'choke' photos The adults who raise Miles certainly do. Since he was diagnosed with his degenerative condition at 13 months, Miles has been wheelchair-bound. Spinal muscular atrophy, notes the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, is a disease that compromises the nerve cells in the spinal cord, eventually causing a breakdown in the body’s muscular system. Because Miles has been dealing with all the challenges in his life so well, even smiling ear-to-ear in the class shot, his father is even more incensed by the way the photographer and school treated him. “For some reason it makes me feel even worse that he’s so happy in the picture,” Don Ambridge tells The Province. “I think it’s because he’s still innocent ... He’s still naive to how other people can treat him.” "It broke my heart," he adds in an interview on CBC Radio One's On the Coast. In order to preserve a bit of that innocence, even temporarily, Ambridge and Belanger have decided not to show the photo to their son. But that doesn’t mean they’re keeping the image under wraps. Since receiving the photo, the parents have lashed out at the school and the photo company, Lifetouch, demanding that both coordinate a re-shoot. While Herbert Spencer Elementary has responded to the criticism (by putting all the blame on the photo company), it’s taken a little longer for Lifetouch to acknowledge any responsibility. Also see: How safe is Splenda? Watchdog group urges caution The Province notes that Lifetouch had to be “coaxed” in order to admit that Miles’ placement was a mistake and has finally agreed to retake the class photo. Meanwhile, the proliferation of Miles’ photo and story over media outlets has drawn attention to the way many still treat individuals with disabilities and revives the need for increased awareness and sensitivity. It’s a challenge that Miles’ father still grapples with himself. "I hold myself to account for making mistakes in [Miles'] daily life as well. I’m a parent. You do your best on a daily basis, but I’m not above it either," he admits to the CBC. "Be sensitive to our differences, but don’t highlight those differences, accommodate them.” So in spite of comments from readers who are saying the story has been “blown out of proportion,” this critical reminder bears repeating. What do you think: Has this incident been blown out of proportion or should the photo company be ashamed for its placement of Miles in the class shot? Watch the video below about teens who stole a man's wheelchair and then bragged about it. ..

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Comment by Ab Gai on June 21, 2013 at 11:22am
@Lucky Hall
Thank you!
Comment by Thomas Rose on June 20, 2013 at 10:51pm

I see nothing wrong with the way this kid is position in the pic people need to stop making a big deal out of nothing if you look closely you well see that his wheelchair is too big to fit in behind the seating that the other kids are seated on so it had to be in that position we are seeing now remember wheelchairs does not go sideways they go forward and backwards. cool ya head people smh

Comment by Ab Gai on June 19, 2013 at 5:23pm
@bombahdrop

Lol... Well next time they should put a sign on him
Comment by Bombahdrop on June 19, 2013 at 5:21pm
Birdman hairdo oh no lmao
Comment by Bombahdrop on June 19, 2013 at 5:20pm
@Ab don't get mad okay but Waldo is the one in the wheelchair sad I know lol
Comment by Ab Gai on June 19, 2013 at 11:29am
@monea
The company doesn't need to hire people who care. They just need people to act like they give a dam about taking a good picture... And that's the bare, minimum requirement!
Comment by Born on June 19, 2013 at 10:54am
It is unfortunate something so biased happened in the realm of "EDUCATION"! The LifeTOUCH PORTRAIT STUDIO NEED TO HIRE CARING INDIVIDUALS TO DEAL WITH CHILDREN.
Comment by Chisel Lean on June 19, 2013 at 10:48am

NOW IT'S A PARTY!! Hahahahaha! Ok so lets continue. 4) The teachers dress is at least 2 inches above the knee... she wrong for THAT!! 5) Back row, the kid with the Birdman hairdo on picture day... (Survey says???.......X) Aww man I'm still playing around y'all, but I guess I understand why they would be a lil upset but in life you gotta take things with a grain of salt... Idk...

LMMFAO!!!! Where's WALDO???? BAHAHAHAHAHA! Y'all just as crazy as I am....lol My peoples! Good morning to y'all too and Happy Juneteenth you know????

Comment by Maisha Styles on June 19, 2013 at 10:03am
U can plainly see the bench the children I sitting on is the reason y he is at a distance. Now if the school was to take him out of the chair n something happened to this child the mother wuold b tryn to sue so I don't think nething is wrong with the pic at all it's fine.
Comment by Ab Gai on June 19, 2013 at 9:33am
@Bombahdrop
Lets find Waldo! Lol

The fact that the kid felt the need to lean, given his condition, that just breaks my heart even more.
Like I said the photographer and the teacher are animals!

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