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Voice: No child deserves a teacher like Woeten

February 23, 2002

When I read the letter from Ed Woeten I felt a mixture of nausea and anger. Every day I work with children who have a variety of disabilities. They are all human beings. They all deserve my respect.

What is clear from Woeten's letter is that he has absolutely no respect for these kids. It is clear that he blames them for the condition they are in. He begins his letter with a description of the birth of a child. He rhapsodizes about the miracle of a birth.

Apparently Woeten limits his admiration for babies to those who are perfect with no limitations. He makes no distinction between those who are damaged by drugs, those who are autistic, those who have physical injuries or for any other reason. Woeten lumps everyone together.

The last time we heard about perfect human beings was from a strange man with a mustache in Germany. Equally apparent is his rather twisted notion that those babies who have disabilities deserve their plight.


A question for Woeten: Is he God? How does he "know" that these children will "never improve?" Who gave him the divine insight that tells the future? If Woeten had been present when Helen Keller was learning, she would have remained trapped in her blind despair.

Such lack of compassion should disqualify Woeten from ever entering a classroom or ever having any contact with children who depend on the teacher for nurturing, hope and a vision — not of what the child can't do, but what they can achieve in all the potential and ability that these kids have demonstrated in the past.

Had any of Woeten's arguments had merit, the merit was vaporized by his last ugly remarks. His characterization of the child's sound is as vicious and bigoted as any racial or ethnic stereotype. That he found the child's utterance worthy of his sarcasm and cruel caricature is the final compelling evidence that Mr. Ed Woeten is not fit to be in a classroom and is not fit to deal in a sensitive manner with the needs of disabled children.

In his ignorance, of course, he insists that the origin of the child's disability is relevant. For those of us who work with these kids, the opposite is true. We are not interested in how they became disabled. We are interested in how we can care for them, encourage them, respect and love them,and help them to achieve all they can. They deserve no less than that. No child deserves a teacher like Ed Woeten.


El Centro

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