Friday, November 12, 2010

RIP Zahra Baker

I work with special needs children because I want to, and just because I am who I am, I consider all special needs children to be "mine". "Mine" in the sense that I feel a strong sense of responsibility for their well-being and success. My job, as I see it, is to help them, and I derive a sense of satisfaction from that that carries beyond my absolute hatred of the mountain of paperwork that is special education in Texas. I remember their names and faces long after they've graduated and become adults, and I still get tearful remembering the ones who didn't make it to adulthood for various reasons. I may not be able to spend as much time as I would like with "my" students, but I make sure to keep up with them by talking to their teachers as much as possible. I make an effort to PAY ATTENTION.

Zahra Baker was so obviously a special needs child. She survived cancer, twice, but lost her leg and some of her hearing.Let me say this again: Zahra SURVIVED something, TWICE, that would have made a lot of adults just lay down and die. So this was a special girl, a fighter. But nobody was PAYING ATTENTION. She apparently didn't have anybody in her life who was paying attention to her. Nobody cared. Nobody cared enough about her to contact the authorities about her If someone was paying attention, they made a conscious effort to keep silent about what they saw. That is the only possible explanation, as far as I can tell, for why this little girl was missing awhile before her parents reported her missing. Maybe I'm wrong, but this sort of thing has happened too many times for me to be generous.

I am angry and sad that this wonderful, beautiful little girl with the interesting name had to fight for her survival her entire life, and when she should have been running around with her friends and enjoying the world, she was likely being mistreated by the very people who were supposed to love her and cherish her and protect her: her family. I am angry because this child, like ALL children, should have been celebrated. Instead, she probably died scared and alone and feeling that nobody loved her. And as if that wasn't bad enough, her body was thrown aside like garbage. Nobody deserves to be treated like that, least of all a special needs child.

1 comment:

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