An open letter to our new US Secretary of Education

By |February 7th, 2017|Autism, Blended Family, Life, Parenting|2 Comments|

Dear Betsy DeVos,

You scare me. It’s true, you scare the hell out of me! You may or may not care, I don’t know you so I’m not going to assume either way. I’m just an ordinary mom. I quit my job as a juvenile probation officer a few months ago for several reasons but most of all to chase the idea of a better education and services for our son with severe autism. We left behind my two step-daughters and moved to another state in search of better circumstances for our disabled child. It was a tough decision, one of the toughest of my life thus far. We are blessed that we had this option, many people don’t.

To be honest I’ve never known who the US Education Secretary has been before. I’ve never paid attention but with this political climate it’s been hard to avoid. I consider myself a left-leaning conservative so for the last year I’ve watched in shock as Trump’s America has unfolded. I’ve tried to wrap my head around the feelings of all sides and tried to understand. I’ve tried to sort out truth from fiction. Then you came along.

I watched in horror as you struggled to answer questions regarding IDEA,  the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It’s a federal law ensuring a fair and equal education for children with disabilities throughout the nation. I listened. I waited. Then you said protection for disabled children should be left up to the states. Wait. What??? I hope that since you made that ridiculous statement you have thought that through. What kind of person thinks that giving a quality education to special needs kids is negotiable??? I hope you have recognized that taking away federal support from our disabled children, from my disabled son, would not only be un-American but also inhumane!!!

Look. I do everything I can for my son financially, emotionally, physically. I’m not looking for a handout. As a parent, I have literally given all I have to help my sweet boy and my family have a good life but there’s no way we can do it alone. It’s too much. I know that there are people out there that expect the parents of special needs kids to just handle their business and there’s probably not much I can say to change their minds. If they haven’t walked in my shoes they may never truly understand.  I just hope that you are not one of those people Betsy. I PRAY that you are not one of them because we need you in our corner and right now I’m scared. I know that you have supporters that say your heart is in the right place. You have no idea how much I hope they are right and that you are prepared to FIGHT to make sure ALL children in our country get an excellent education. I will be watching. I will be hoping. I will be fighting.

My son is just one story Mrs. DeVos. We’re just one family. I don’t speak for everyone, but as of today YOU do. The future of our children is in your hands. My sweet son’s future is in your hands. PLEASE, please don’t let him down.

Sincerely,
Bridger’s Mom

“We will fight, not out of spite, For someone must stand up for what’s right, Cause where there’s a man who has no voice, There ours shall go singing, My hands are small, I know, But they’re not yours they are my own, But they’re not yours they are my own, And I am never broken, In the end only kindness matters, I will get down on my knees and I will pray…”  –Jewel