I had several things happen during recess duty this week that are going to stay with me for a while. Here is one that really stuck out in my mind.
A group of kids caught my eye as I was out on the playground the other day. There were seven of them to be exact. Six sixth graders and a Down Syndrome girl that is in Lu Lu's class. They caught my eye because... well we don't usually see the "normal kids" playing with the kids from that class. They are thrown together a lot during the regular school hours but when recess hits they don't hang out a lot. This group was more unusual because Jenny (all names are changed to protect the innocent) the girl from the "special class" is a couple of years younger than the kids she was playing with. I was worried at first when I noticed them together. In a world where kids like Jenny are not really accepted by their peers, seeing a group together like that makes a person worry a little. They were all laughing and smiling, and that makes an adult a little suspicious. I almost intervened, but instead I decided to stand and watch for a few minutes before passing judgement. It was then that I noticed that they were moving as a herd back and forth across the basket ball court. Then I noticed that Jenny was always in front, and that they were letting her take the lead. I had to stifle a little half laugh half sob when I figured it out. This amazing group of kids had figured out that Jenny likes to run, a lot. They were racing her across the court, and letting her win every time! I almost cried right there on the spot. It was one of the sweetest things I have seen yet. Jenny's teacher then walked over and spoke with them for a few minutes. There was some kind of agreement made and the next thing I knew, they were getting Jenny to race them to the doors of the school. Jenny by the way is a runner, and when faced with the idea of going inside after recess, she will always run the other direction. Not this day! She ran right over and cooperated in a way I have never seen her do. I guess in her mind it is OK to go inside as long as it isn't the teachers idea.
I walked over to the kids afterward and thanked them for being so kind. I told them that from the perspective of a parent of a child with disabilities that was an amazing thing to see. They all acted as though it was no big deal, but I wanted them to know that that little thing they did was an amazing act of kindness toward Jenny and ever adult on the playground that day was immensely impressed.