A few months back, when asked by the staff of the high school what I hoped for in his high school experience, I told them:
“I want Jameson to finish his senior year having gone to prom. And not one of those Tim Tebow night to shine proms. The regular prom. I don’t want him to need a special prom anymore than anyone else does. I want him to be at his school’s prom because that’s where he belongs. Where everybody expects him to be. I want it to be unthinkable to everyone that he wouldn’t belong there as much as anyone else.”
Here‘s a recent article I’ve seen circulating that I think it’s important to read.
‘Special needs proms’ may have good intentions behind them, but good intentions aren’t enough. Such events reinforce that people with disabilities don’t belong in certain spaces simply because they have disabilities.
As Chris Beesley says in this article,
“you know what [people with disabilities] are saying? They want typical. They want ordinary. They don’t want special places.”
Race segregated proms are problematic. So are disability segregated proms.
Separate isn’t equal.
Twenty or so years ago I framed an exam question around this very topic, asking students to critique the philosophical and pedagogical implications of special needs proms. It was a grand way to suss out whether students had absorbed the inclusive values I was striving so ardently to inculcate. As for me, I totally endorse your perspective here.