I would certainly hope that auditing a college class would be an option for anyone with a disability. The fact that classmates stood up for this young lady thrills me!! Go, students! I wonder if many of them had the privilege of being in classes with kids with disabilities while in elementary, middle or high school. Perhaps they just knew it was the right thing to do.
Now all we need is some "people first" language in the title of this article, and we'll be set! (It would put the person first by wording it "Classmates of student with Down syndrome protest withdrawal".) But the actions in this story speak louder than words!
Classmates of Down syndrome student protest withdrawal
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About 20 students demonstrated today at Ashland's Southern Oregon University to protest an administrative decision to withdraw a student with Down syndrome.
Twenty-year-old Eliza Schaaf, a graduate of Ashland High School, was auditing a ceramics class as a way to share the college experience with her friends from high school, her parents said.
She had completed two-thirds of the class when she received a letter Nov. 8 notifying her she would be withdrawn from the class because she was not qualified to meet academic standards and disrupted the class. The letter also said the family would be given a full refund of tuition and fees.
All 19 students in Schaaf's class have signed a petition stating that Schaaf did not disrupt their learning in the class and was a welcome presence.
Mollie Mustoe, one of Schaaf's classmates who spearheaded the petition, said administrators didn't consult students before making the decision.
Student organizers gathered about 40 more signatures today from students who oppose the decision to remove Schaaf from class.
SOU's Student Senate voted unanimously Tuesday on a resolution asking the administration to allow Schaaf to remain on campus and to give Schaaf due process.
"The fact that it was unanimous is overwhelming for us," said Eliza's father, Ron Schaaf. "It's so gratifying to know other people believe in Eliza, other than her parents. We hope this will lead to a good conclusion."
— Paris Achen