She was a terrific kid.
As one of my third grade students that year, Kelly contibuted a lot to our class. She loved to sing, could throw a baseball like Tim Lincecum and painted beautiful pictures. She always completed her homework, no matter how long it took her, and tried as hard as any student I have taught before or since.
But, despite that, Kelly was not like the other kids. She was a special education student with a disability, a cognitive impairment that would never go away, no matter how hard she tried. She was different, and the other kids knew it.
And one day at recess, they let her know they knew it. A group of kids surrounded her and teased her with ugly, cruel words. And when Kelly returned from recess crying, I was appalled.
I think I was more upset than Kelly. Class discussions were held, parents were called. One dad shrugged it off with "Kids will be kids, and they will always tease each other. It's part of everyone's school experience. Everyone's been teased."