School rallies around autistic student turned away from formal dance

More from the “dress code” file:

In Pelham, N.H., a young man with autism was denied entry to the school’s semi-formal dance because he wore a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

There’s a good reason he did.

“Things that may feel soft or comfortable on our skin, for children like that can sometimes be physically painful to him,” said Michelle Bedard, Max Bedard’s mother tells a Boston TV station.

The school department says they gave Max a chance to return to school with a collared shirt.

“If he had said ‘Mom can you bring me a button down shirt?’ I would have brought him a shirt,” said Michelle Bedard. “I wouldn’t have let him suffer that humiliation.”

Students have rallied around Max. On Monday they wore sweatshirts to school, declaring it “#MaxItMonday”.

  • Jeff C.

    Sometimes kids are smarter than adults. Good job, kids!

  • BReynolds33

    And the administration patted themselves on the back and said, “Great job. We kept him in line. Go team!”

  • Mike Worcester

    How is this even legal? Would this not be an infraction of the ADA? (Or is autism not considered a disability for purposes of that law?)

    • Renae

      If the article is accurate that the principal told this young man “you can’t come in without changing your clothes” then yes, that’s a violation of federal law (IDEA, to be exact).
      What this really comes down to is a stupid dress code, imho. As a mom of a child with autism (person-first language please- not “autistic student”), I am vigilant on keeping up with group standards and expectations. If there was a dance with a dress code, and I knew that my son had sensory aversions, I’d have spoken with someone beforehand and found an appropriate collared shirt my son could tolerate. Or I’d insist on a deviation from a stupid rule. Regardless, it is the school’s responsibility to be inclusive, and they knew or should have known that this student may need an accommodation.
      Kudos to the students for rallying. April (also known as “Autism Awareness Month”) is around the corner and it can be a difficult time for some kids with autism. My son is high-functioning and prefers not to have the world tell him he should be “cured”. The best ” autism awareness” is making friends with a kid with autism!

  • John

    The kids are all right.