P.E.I. school board puts halt to disabled teen’s student exchange to the Island

Mitch MacDonald
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Melanie Bowen, right, looks on as her daughter, Brooklyn Mavis, sheds tears during an interview with Global News in British Columbia. Brooklyn was told she was not allowed to attend a students exchange in Prince Edward Island because of her autism and epilepsy.

The P.E.I. English Language School Board is keeping its lips sealed on a decision to not allow a B.C. teen with autism and epilepsy to participate in a student exchange program.

Bluefield High School, in Hampshire, and the board saw a flurry of social media criticism over the weekend after the story broke of Brooklyn Mavis, a 15-year-old teen from B.C. who was previously accepted to participate in an exchange trip to P.E.I. through SEVEC (Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada).

Mavis told Global News in B.C. she felt discriminated against when she was informed earlier this month that Bluefield would not be able to host her as part of the exchange.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ORIGINAL GLOBAL B.C. STORY

An official with the school board offered little to clarify the situation when contacted by The Guardian Sunday evening.

“No comment,” said Julie Gaudet, director of the board’s student services department.

The Guardian had previously contacted the principal of Bluefield High School, who was unable to comment on the decision and referred the matter to the board.

In an interview with Global News, Mavis’ mother Melanie Bowen said she had signed waivers about her daughter’s disabilities in November and was still accepted to go on a trip scheduled for May 13.

However, that trip was cancelled in March after Mavis had hosted some P.E.I. students.

During the exchange, Mavis suffered a complex partial seizure. A few days later, the principal of Mavis’ school received a letter informing him that Bluefield was not in a position to host Mavis.

The letter said the board felt Mavis was not able to meet the mandate of the exchange in regards to social interaction with her “twin” and P.E.I. peers.

“Brooklyn’s inability to cope with the physical stress of an exchange was also a factor in our decision,” Letter from Bluefield principal

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LETTER FROM BLUEFIELD

“Brooklyn’s inability to cope with the physical stress of an exchange was also a factor in our decision,” continued to the letter, obtained by The Guardian. “Legally, as a board, we cannot justify putting a student at risk by subjecting her to the unpredictable stresses an exchange outside one’s province entails.

“We are glad to hear that Brooklyn is making progress in a variety of areas and perhaps over time she will in fact be a suitable candidate for a SEVEC exchange.”

Bowen told Global News that after emails and phone calls, the two were told Mavis would only be able to participate if she stayed in a hotel room alone along with a teacher next door.

Wendy Cummings, executive director of SEVEC, had also issued a statement to Global News regarding the case.

“I would like to reassure everyone that a series of steps were taken to explore ways to accommodate Brooklyn, including participation by representatives of the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education during an April 15th conference call SEVEC facilitated that included Melanie, Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s school principal and vice-principal and a P.E.I. school representative,” said Cummings. “In our role as facilitator, I have contacted the P.E.I. and B.C. school officials to request a conference call to discuss this matter. I am hopeful that through collaborative and respectful communication this can be resolved.”

Organizations: Global News, P.E.I. English Language School Board, The Guardian Bluefield High School Center for Epilepsy B.C. school

Geographic location: P.E.I., B.C., Bluefield Brooklyn Hampshire Canada

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Recent comments

  • Helena McMillan
    May 04, 2014 - 17:53

    We used to call the type of Epilepsy that Brooklyn has, 'absence seizures'. , or even petit mal. They are nothing to be afraid of. Brooklyn 's mind just went on a teeny holiday for probably not more than 2-5 seconds. This happens when there is too much incoming activity. I believe she was at a game of some sort? There is lots of action, noise, color movement. People with this "disorder', for that is what epilepsy is called; a disorder; only need someone to come alongside and sit quietly with them, until she comes back. The trip she was wanting to take part in would not have caused her more stress. It would have been relaxing for her.. I know, I had these in high school myself. I know virtually nothing about autism, but she seems to be a wonderful young lady. For those of you saying" there must be more to the story..." I bet there is.....too much exaggeration, too much gossip, and THAT my friends can kill a spirit. I wish the mother and daughter would go on the trip and happen to show up at all the same places, but that wouldn't prove anything. To the classmates....SHE'S OKAY.. you don't have to be afraid!

  • Helena McMillan
    May 04, 2014 - 16:46

    You call her "disabled" Is she drawing a disability pension of some kind? Are her parents able to claim her as a disabled child?You really need some education regarding Epilepsy out there. Seems to me Brooklyn might be able to teach you a thing or two.

  • Wendy Cumming
    May 02, 2014 - 21:13

    The intent of this detailed account of what has transpired and update on current status is to provide you with further information. Understanding the reasons behind the decision taken by the local exchange organizers in PEI and Mission is an important part of this. I commend Melanie as a champion for her daughter Brooklyn. I understand where Melanie and Brooklyn are coming from as the back and forth continued between the PEI and Mission school officials leading into recent developments. The decision regarding youth participants and activities planning resides with the local organizers who work closely with each other and with parents to ensure that steps are taken to support the principle that all youth have equal access to participation in exchanges, and that steps are taken to accommodate participants with disabilities to ensure a healthy, safe and secure environment for everyone. Local volunteer teachers, principals and community organizers know the parents, the students/youth and their communities. In our role as facilitator, SEVEC has been in regular communication with PEI and BC organizers. I want to reassure everyone that since the outset all members of the PEI and Mission, BC exchange planning team have welcomed Brooklyn’s participation. We were advised that initial measures were put into place by the local organizers to respond to the medical information provided by Brooklyn’s mom. This included additional questions by the PEI School Board Inclusive Education Specialist to understand in more detail the specifics of Brooklyn’s medical condition responded to by Melanie Bowen on January 29th, before travel from PEI to BC occurred. We were then advised of a significant incident that happened at Rogers Arena in Vancouver as a result of Brooklyn’s medical condition. SEVEC receives notifications of incidents that occur during our exchanges. First aid responders and health staff treated Brooklyn and the chaperones acted swiftly to ensure that Brooklyn’s safety/recovery were well attended to and that Brooklyn’s privacy and dignity were preserved. After witnessing this incident and learning this new information, and following a consultation with the school board’s resources who are experienced in working with a wide range of health concerns, increased measures were required by PEI organizers with Brooklyn’s health and safety as the first and foremost concern. Included in the series of steps to explore ways to accommodate Brooklyn was a conference call facilitated by SEVEC that included participation by representatives of the Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education (www.epilepsy.cc) on April 15th with Melanie, Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s school Principal and Vice-Principal and a PEI school representative in attendance. During this conference call all participants agreed that the allegation of discrimination did not apply to what has transpired. It was also agreed that to ensure Brooklyn’s safety, complete disclosure of any changes to Brooklyn’s condition be provided, and that a chaperone be physically present at all times and in position to provide immediate physical support should Brooklyn require it. The recent suggestion that Brooklyn would stay alone in a hotel room is false. Agreement with Melanie was requested by local organizers on Friday, April 25th for these new measures – significant lead time is required for the steps required by the airline’s medical desk for air travel for Brooklyn and activities coordination with all the venues included in the exchange. Unfortunately this did not happen, and the exchange is moving forward. This is the “why” for the steps taken by PEI and Mission, BC organizers. Allegations of discrimination and bullying are serious. Brooklyn was welcomed from the outset and the steps to accommodate Brooklyn’s medical condition clearly demonstrate that this is simply not the case. Thousands of youth enjoy SEVEC exchanges each year with local organizers taking the steps to accommodate participants of all abilities and to ensure the health and safety of all youth participants. We will continue to be diligent on this. Wendy Cumming Executive Director SEVEC

  • Alisha
    April 29, 2014 - 10:28

    I feel so much for this young girl. Both my daughters are autistic, and this is my fear for them. They will be labelled, and because of this, they will lose out. For those of you who say this is not discrimination, I don't know what has led you to that. Her mom is willing to go with her and care for her. She has medical clearance by her neurologist. They say they have explored all avenues. If they had, they would have accepted this. Its incredibly unfair to have them host children from PEI, and afterwards, when it is her turn, she is told she can't. If I lived in PEI, I would open my home to her, in a heartbeat. This is a youg woman who is overcoming more challenges than most, and is paving her way to a successful life. She should get this, along with a very lengthy and public apology.

  • sad
    April 28, 2014 - 19:28

    sorry to hear that !My heart goes out to the poor girl ,she was excited to come to the Island and now she cant,I doubt our youth is so thin skinned they cant deal with seeing someone with autism or taking a seizure i have alot more faith in them then that!

  • ever think of that ?
    April 28, 2014 - 19:07

    Obviously...pei exchange went to BC, witnessed her seizures and episodes and was scared and didnt want her to come stay with them on pei. Or the parents of the pei girl just cant handle to care for a child with those sorts of risks. I wouldnt be held responcible for looking after someone elses epileptic / autistic child in fear of something happening while here. Truth hurts.

    • No Idea
      April 29, 2014 - 04:24

      Perfect name "ever think". Do you? Or better yet, do you read? The comments below and the Global article, clearly state that the mother will both come with her daughter to take care of any issues and absolve everyone of responsibility. Given that, what's the risk? Maybe the school board has no confidence in the PEI health care system if something serious were to happen (which I strongly suspect would not be in this case). Of course as the Minister of health so often states, NS and NB are nearby to deal with health issues that PEI is incapable of covering.

  • I believe it all to be true
    April 28, 2014 - 18:27

    Unfortunately I Believe it all to be true. I hope all the powers in the school board are happy. Look at her tears look what you did to this child look you ate now responsible for her being bullied in school did you hear her just like her old school. You should all be ashamed . Superintendant is supposed to be the one on charge. See what you did to this child. Here is the proof that the school board on PEI supports bullying.

  • Chris
    April 28, 2014 - 18:19

    If anyone has a debilitating disability, it's the principal and school board. Maybe it's time for them to be reevaluated. Shame on you! A better quote from the principal should have read, " The school board's lack of cognitive ability to cope with children with special needs was a factor of their decision". Brooklyn our family supports you.

  • Confused
    April 28, 2014 - 18:14

    This is confusing to me. I read in the letter that the school backing down from the student exchange due to her "MEDICAL CONDITION" and are concerned about her safety. Not sure how that is being flipped to being discriminatory against someone with a disability. If she had a heart condition or a bleeding disorder they may indeed find her not suitable. Sometimes the discrimination card is just played a little too often.

  • A parent that tried
    April 28, 2014 - 17:48

    Maybe not that the rest of Canada knows what we have to deal with with the school board we might have a chance to save our kids The school board allows the teachers to bulky our children call them names and ridicule them and then if your kid is lucky enough to find a teacher that tries to help he is squashed in his attempts and the parent is meant with roadblocks and lies at every turn. I have plenty of documentation of school board and principal lies maybe something can happen now that Canada can listen. Some people at the school board needs to go but we all know that won't happen. Some think the principal wouldn't write such a letter I don't know him but wouldn't be surprised if he was made to write it. Media dont let this go. To the family in BC not all if PEI is like the school board. Finally I will say I have dealt with Mrs Gaudet and she is the only one with power at the school board that even recognized how to help so I am sure her no comment came from her boss.

  • Darcie Lanthier
    April 28, 2014 - 16:57

    Melanie and Brooklyn, you are more than welcome to stay at my house. I have billeted many, many students over the years.

  • Sam
    April 28, 2014 - 16:56

    Disgusting that the P.E.I. school board accepted her then now is saying no after they were good enough to house some students from P.E.I. What does this say about PEI???? I say allow her to participate since they accepted her in the first place. This school board is soooooo backwards it is NOT funny.... Hope this girl sues our stupid school board....

  • no google
    April 28, 2014 - 12:59

    The right thing was done. The child should be in a separate school system . Everyone is being held back to accommodate a few. The result is mediocrity across the board!

    • wow
      April 28, 2014 - 14:29

      Not sure how no google got out of his cage but pei has more then just an accusition of discrimination on its hands.

    • Peter
      April 28, 2014 - 15:58

      Held back? Held back, you say? .. Just how held back are kids, without people like Brooklyn Mavis in their classes, when they graduate grade 12 and still can't count change back from a dollar... or add, subtract, multiply or divide without a machine to do it for them? Please... tell me just how "held back" they are because of persons like Brooklyn!

    • Chris
      April 28, 2014 - 18:48

      @no google. If you haven't heard PEI ranks last academically, nationally , and now ranks last morally.

    • wil
      April 28, 2014 - 19:01

      Exactly how are folks like Brooklyn holding other students back? What absolute bovine scatology. Seems to me you are holding yourself back, from common sense and from the 21st century.

    • fogbound
      April 28, 2014 - 20:10

      These trips are financed by the federal government, which pays the cost of the airfare for participating students. I urge anyone who is bothered by this decision to contact their MP. It's our money they are spending.

    • fogbound
      April 28, 2014 - 20:20

      Here on planet earth, students with special needs have been integrated into the public school system for decades. It's lead them and their families to believe they are full participants in society. The plane fare for these trips is paid for with tax-payer dollars through the federal government. If SEVEC and the PEI school are cancelling Brooklyn's participation, they should cancel the trip for all students. I've written to my MP and the Minister in charge - Shelly Glover - who can be reached at shelly.glover@parl.gc.ca. If you really want to support Brooklyn, Let Ms. Glover know how you feel.

    • Montague High Student
      April 28, 2014 - 21:53

      How dare you open your misinformed, mixed up mouth. It is people like you who are a burden on society. Everyone is the same, we all have feelings,thoughts, and emotions, regardless of whether we have an extra chromosome or a mental illness, and so on. No one deserves to be treated like this young girl is being treated. I had a classmate with down syndrome in my class from K-9 and in no way did he hold any of us back. He taught us, taught if anything. It is people with your view point who hold society and the world back. If viewpoints such as yours were non existent the world would be a better place for everybody, bullying, racism,sexism, etc would be a much much smaller problem, if it even existed. Also unlike you I am not hiding behind a screen as a coward. -Michael Grade 12 at Montague High

  • Mary
    April 28, 2014 - 10:51

    It would have been a different outcome had the student in question been a visible minority.

  • Sherri
    April 28, 2014 - 10:40

    People need to realize there are always two sides to every story. What this article is doing is cashing in on one side. I highly doubt the school board, principal and everyone else involved took this decision lightly. I agree all students should have the right to equal opportunities, however when someone's safety or health becomes an issue(which seems to be the case) what is this fight actually for? Just be wary of the fact that not everything is always how the media makes it seem....

    • Tanya
      April 28, 2014 - 11:56

      I'm sorry, but the mother had already signed a waiver regarding her daughter's health, the program was already aware of all of her issues and she was still accepted to the program. It wasn't until after some of the students from PEI witnessed one of her seizures that this occurred.

    • No Idea
      April 28, 2014 - 11:57

      Don't blame the media for making this one sided. If you read the articles, the media have tried to contact all parties on "the other side" and gotten 'no comment' or no response. It's pretty obvious from that lack of engagement that they have made little effort to resolve this poor decision and and are not confident that they made a defensible correct choice. If they believed that they were correct in excluding this girl from her trip for some reason, they shouldn`t hesitate to speak to the media to put their side of the story out there.

    • Sherri
      April 28, 2014 - 20:37

      I just think there has to be more to this than what is being written. Not saying it isn't upsetting for the family and I do feel for the young girl. However I would like to believe the people involved in the decision making had her well being in mind when they made it. And I do believe that media has away of focusing on one side... Just my opinion and no disrespect meant for anyone involved.

  • CJ
    April 28, 2014 - 10:24

    Did any of you actually read the article or watch the clip? It clearly states her mother was going to go with her. She was willing to stay in a hotel WITH her daughter so as not to cause any stress to a host family. The girl's neurologist also wrote a letter clearing her to attend. She does not have massive medical needs. Her seizures are the kind where she just stares off for a second. What this does is make people here in BC think that PEI is some backwoods part of Canada where you can't manage to make any accommodations. Are there no hospitals there? No phones? If her mother was willing to accompany her on each outing and sign waivers absolving all parties of responsibility, and a dr agreed and they weren't going to stay at a home, then what is the problem?? After speaking with her mom recently, she told me Bluefield agreed to let her go without her mom, but only on the condition that Brooklyn wrote a public apology to the school and program. This child should not be forced to apologize to adults who are discriminating against her. She should not cave to bullies. The mother tried everything to make this work before going to the media. This has been ongoing for weeks now, so she didn't just rush out and cry to the press. I hope they resolve this because it's a shadow over all you are doing out there for your 150 year anniversary as part of Canada. Does not make me want to bring my family, including my son with autism, to visit.

    • TT
      April 28, 2014 - 10:48

      I'm sure there is more that we are being told here. This just doesn't sound right.

    • don
      April 28, 2014 - 11:20

      cj. i agree with you fully. the board and the school is being BULLIES and it gives pei another black eye. i can see this program closing as it hurts all kids on PEI. i think it is time this board and school say they are sorry and step down in shame.

  • Tammy
    April 28, 2014 - 09:57

    Obviously more to this story!

    • wil
      April 28, 2014 - 19:04

      There's people here saying there is more to the story. But they offer no facts. If you believe there is more, tell us what it is. If you don't, you're just some anonymous bully casting aspersions on a girl who just wants to broaden her horizons.

  • Steve
    April 28, 2014 - 09:30

    Part of a statement from SEVEC: "SEVEC strongly believes that all youth should have equal access to participation in SEVEC youth exchanges. We provide special measures funding to support the inclusion of youth with special needs or disabilities." If that is true, then this should have been worked out long ago, since SEVEC knew of the girl's situation.

  • Linda (Matheson) Albert
    April 28, 2014 - 09:21

    Come on- this does not sound right!!! it's downright discrimination!!!

  • Facts
    April 28, 2014 - 09:04

    Her Mother has offered to come with her but Bluefield does not find that good enough. They want the poor girl alone in a hotel room with a teacher next door. WHY WOULDNT YOU LET HER MOTHRE STAY WITH HER and avoid all this??? So dumb Bluefield

    • think about it
      April 28, 2014 - 14:37

      If her condition is such that the trip will be so severely stressful for her that she cannot travel without her mother, then how can they place her in a host family? Are you volunteering your home???

  • student
    April 28, 2014 - 08:41

    It's hard to make a comment about this particular situation because as usual we do not have all the facts. What I can comment on is the way our society constantly defines people by there condition. example, "the autistic epileptic girl" or "the diabetic", "the alcoholic". People are not defined by their medical conditions, or diseases. By changing our language we can start to hopefully change the way people are treated.

  • Oicu812
    April 28, 2014 - 08:41

    I have volunteered for many school trips. I have been to Toronto, Boston, New York, Halifax, Ottawa..... with as many as 80 kids. When we get our briefing before we go as chaperons, it always comes with the standard list of kids with medical issues. Everything from severe asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes etc. and if the child administers their own medication. This particular child would require her own chaperon or parent or I would be getting off the bus. It is way too much to ask of host families, volunteers, teachers, administrators and transportation providers to take this on. This is not discrimination! If anyone would step up and call the School and offer to take complete responsibility for this child, then there would be no issue. These trips are demanding on a person and there is no telling how it will affect this young lady. If she goes into one of her complex partial seizures without someone like her mother there, what happens?? I am sorry but I live in a real world. This girl should not have been accepted in BC in the first place. Now it looks like PEI is the bad guy. Shame on the people who are bashing the decision makers here.

    • I Agree
      April 28, 2014 - 10:26

      I fully agree with this post .

    • No Idea
      April 28, 2014 - 10:50

      Clearly you didn't watch the video where they CLEARLY stated that the mother would accompany the daughter for the trip. Just another ignorant post without checking the facts. Thus making your entire post worthless. Sorry but PEI is being the bad guy for not making this happen.

  • PEI Resident
    April 28, 2014 - 08:24

    It is unfortunate that public expects an education institution to face and deal with medical problems. This is a person with special needs. To demand a school to accommodate such cases is irresponsible. This imposes a burden on the special needs person first and foremost, on the school staff, and on the rest of the students. The risks and impact is tremendous. It is best for the child to address her special needs in special ways.

    • Educateyourself
      April 28, 2014 - 21:24

      It is absolutely the schools responsibility to be able to address the special needs of children. We all have special needs at some point in our lives. If you don't agree, then no schools should be peanut or scent free anymore. Give your heads a shake people and educate yourselves. This is stemming from complete ignorance. The school board should swallow their pride, apologize and admit that they made a mistake. If they can't do that then they should not be trusted to educate any children regardless of special needs/requirements.

  • Concerned
    April 28, 2014 - 08:15

    Did you consider bringing her Mother with her to look after her while she is on the Island?.

  • Anne
    April 28, 2014 - 08:15

    If the her family was seen as suitable to "host" the PEI Student in BC; then PEI needs to then honour their end and host the BC student here. Clearly there must have been guideline in place the exchange trip came up and the students applied to be involved in this processes? I would think that the students parents, medical team as well as her own school would not have encouraged her to enroll in the exchange trip if they did not think that she was not able to participate in the exchange trip. To not allow the student to participate in the rest of the exchange, will only suggest that people that are living with some sort of challenges, cannot fully enjoy the many other social, and added educational experiences that are offered to the student beyond the walls of a classroom setting. Is our beautiful Island, only going to be opened to those individuals that live with out some sort of a challenge from now on? What type of a message does this send to the BC student, parents and friends? When I was in school here on PEI, some years ago, I felt that it was vitally important to show inclusion in the classrooms here, as it showed the students then that education in its many forms is for everyone! Now those students have grown up and have family's of their own in many cases and are active participants in the fabric of out Island and have been able to continue to contribute in many segments of our Island way of life.

  • objective
    April 28, 2014 - 07:54

    According to the article, 1) the young lady is autistic and epileptic; 2) a series of steps were taken to explore ways to accommodate this girl; 3) her trip here was cancelled after PEI exchange students visited her home in BC and there were problems. She needs to accept that she has very demanding afflictions. It's a lot to ask of a host family, and it will be challenging to find a host family who can accommodate her needs. As an educator, I whole-heartedly advocate giving kids the opportunity to spread their wings and try new things. However, it's wise to be cautious and consider this girls best interests. We don't know all of the facts and need to trust that everything is being done to consider her best interests.

  • voter
    April 28, 2014 - 07:00

    very good to see that pei is erring on the side of caution with the girls best interests in mind ! Also , they are wise not to take on any undue liability which they are not properly prepared to handle !!

    • momofasdchild
      April 28, 2014 - 08:32

      I too can appreciate that the province is erring on the side of caution here….espescially with a young adult with autism who also has a seizure disorder travelling quite far away from her home alone. However, I feel that if she were placed in the appropriate environment here on PEI, perhaps with a family with similar dynamics and/or an adult in the household with a medical background to assist if necessary, she should not be denied this opportunity….very important for social development. I'm sure there must be supports available to assist her while attending school as well. I was saddened to hear that she may be expected to stay in a hotel room alone in order to attend this exchange program. There must be some way that she could be accommodated. I wonder if the PEI Autism Society could help in any way?

  • No Idea
    April 28, 2014 - 06:57

    I am so disgusted with the actions of this school and board it' s hard to comment. The entire country is watching as this story spreads. Just shows the lie that "The Gentle Island" really is. Clearly this school board is too lazy, ignorant and uncaring to make the small effort needed to make this girl's trip a reality. Missing from this story (reported elsewhere) is how this has effected Melanie's home and school life in BC. These actions have hurt more than just missing the trip. No wonder the representatives of the school won't speak, they are an ignorant bunch of clods that can't possibly defend the position they have taken. All should RESIGN over the black eye they have caused PEI and the hurt they have caused.

    • think about it
      April 28, 2014 - 08:15

      are you willing and able to care for an autistic epileptic girl? Could you support her by taking her in and being her host family? If so, then volunteer. You can do something to step forward and help, rather than sit back and anonymously criticize.

  • John G
    April 28, 2014 - 06:50

    Way to go Bluefield High School. You give all of PEI a slap in the face. Something tells me that the taxpayer will somehow have to correct this mess you got us into and it does have to be fixed.

  • Peter
    April 28, 2014 - 06:30

    « “Brooklyn’s inability to cope with the physical stress of an exchange was also a factor in our decision,” » - Letter from Bluefield principal So the Bluefield principal is now a doctor? How does this "principal" know this girl doesn't have the ability to cope with physical stress? Seems to me, this rejection took place as a result of what the PEI students had to say when they returned from their exchange visit. The school should be teaching kids how to associate and deal with life situations instead of calling in "crisis counsellors" every time some kid stubs their toe.

    • consider
      April 28, 2014 - 08:20

      that's the million dollar question: how do authorities know that this girl is unable to cope with the stress of an exchange...? You ASSUME the principal made this decision on his own... I think your assumption is dead wrong. I'm sure that opinion did come from a doctor or mental health professional. And if you bother to study anything on autism, you'd be more understanding of the affiction and less likely to put forth comments like you did.

    • Teacher
      April 28, 2014 - 09:02

      First of all, no where in the article does it say that he principal of Bluefield wrote that letter. In fact, it says "the letter says the board felt that..." The principal of Bluefield is as kind and accommodating as one can be, and your accusations should not land on him. Secondly, this decision would have been made based on the girls health, your speculation about the reason is unfounded and clearly bias. If you feel so strongly about the issue, I suggest you contact SEVEC and volunteer as a host for the girl or provide a suggestion of someone who has the knowledge and time to give her proper care and security for her position. Your misguided statement shows that you are in the same small minded group as those that you criticize.

    • Teacher to teacher
      April 28, 2014 - 10:29

      Sadly Teacher Mr. Coady, school principal,signed the document.Whether he was the author ,is questionable.I am not on any ones side on the issue at hand but I am alarmed he would sign such a document if he did not believe in it.We, as members of the PEITF, can stand up for what we believe is right so the fact that he signed the document leads me to believe he was in agreement.