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From Forrest L. Tennant

Sep 29, 2015

Dear Editor,

What a shame, what a shame!

A few days ago I saw Jay Yeager, who was our interim superintendent of schools in Wetzel County (as I understand it) in Wendy’s Restaurant, New Martinsville, so I took the opportunity to ask him how much extra was involved last year in caring for the Stevens boy in Hundred. He informed me that he couldn’t talk about it, and if I wanted to know I would have to talk to the parents, maybe they would tell me, but that there was a lot more to it than what I had heard. I did just as he suggested. I talked with the parents, and this is what they told me.

Regardless of where he is schooled, there must be a one-on-one advocate. In Magnolia, he would be forced to get up early so that he could be driven an hour in a five-point harness, in a school bus then he would be segregated to be taught for the day, and then returned to the five-point harness for the hour ride back to Hundred on Route 7 in a school bus. This being as a five days a week punishment for being handicapped. Who would blame him for not wanting to get up to go to school? In Hundred he was with his peers, people who would interact with him, people who were genuinely interested in his well being, lending a hand of encouragement, and teaching the everyday activities that one needs to get by in this day to day life. All of this one mile from home.

This young man will never go to college, he will never study to be a tradesman; he will never qualify to operate a truck, be a coal miner, operate a gas well, drive a farm tractor, or any of the other positions that vail themselves to others in Wetzel County.

We learned many years ago, that segregating people with problems doesn’t work. Look at the mental institution in Weston. Today that is frowned upon severely, and isolating one from their peers is what we do with those who are being punished for severe crimes, think about those who commit murder, or other severe inhumane, and criminal activities. What has this young man done to deserve this?

The last superintendent of schools in Wetzel County, as bad as he must have been, deserving to be fired, did show compassion in helping Roy to be able to learn those things needed to exist comfortably today. If this is an example of what the new superintendent is doing, she needs to be fired also. If it is the board of education, who is behind this treatment, let’s all remember this when election time comes. Or maybe we could just load them into a five-point harness, and take them for a ride, or isolate them for a while.

What a shame, what a shame!!

Forrest L. Tennant