Monday, October 24, 2011

Special Students

No, not the short bus kind. The kind no one talks about.
I was, to no one's surprise, what they called a "gifted" student back then. Worse, I was labelled "intellectually gifted," which was one level up.
I guess the contemporary classification would be "exceptional."
All of those imply a difference, and all can be synonyms for "special."
Yea, I know, this is going to sound like the rant of the spoiled child who doesn't understand why her friends are all jealous of her bling-coated iPhone. Bear with me.
As you remember, any difference in school is fair game for ridicule, and we've all had to endure our fair share, and find ways to deal with it.
What? You didn't think I spontaneously became a snarky asshole, did you?
Worse, tho, is the singling out by adults, who identify the gifted child and try to segregate him from his peers. There's a component of elemental emotional abuse involved here: often, intellectually gifted children are presumed-- or worse, forced-- to more mature behaviors because "we're so smart." Meanwhile, they're still children with all the hormonal storms and frustrations inherent in that title.
We're just better able to articulate them.
Anyway, I oppose that school mentioned in the link to the Times for these reasons: to segregate exceptional children even further is to segregate them from their peers, who have an unique way of "bringing them back to earth." The teasing, the mocking, they all serve as humiliations, true, but they also serve to remind each of us that, ultimately, we are no better than anyone else in toto.