Dunbar Township Elementary Newspaper Photo 1968

Reflections: What I Didn’t Know Then

Recently, my parents were cleaning their house and brought to me some of my possessions. Some of these were some elementary school yearbooks that I had. Taking a look into one of them brought to light some discoveries about things that happened at the time, both good and bad that made me realize that I have been destined to be on the journey that I am on.

The particular yearbook that caught my eye was my sixth grade yearbook. At the time, that was our last year of Elementary School and it was 1998. Things were different in many ways then as they are now. Particularly how things happened and they were not made as much attention as they are today, mostly because the Internet was just arriving at the time. I don’t believe it came to this particular school system until the next summer. I would be lucky to get Internet in my home in the summer of 1998, and it would be broadband (and still is). Back then there weren’t the opportunities to highlight things in the ways that we are able to now.

One of the biggest things that caught my eye in this particular yearbook was that all the students of the sixth grade mainstream classrooms had their traditional sixth grade portraits along with the teachers of those classrooms were presented in their traditional manner. However, when it came to the students of the special classrooms, our photos were on a typed page stating that they were not available. I guess it gives me some dignity that I am at the top of the list of students from my classroom and I was the most improved student of that classroom over the years, although I would not get my official diagnosis that fall. It also took me afar that of those 11 students in my class that I know three that are no longer with us for varied reasons.

Regardless, it drew some shock that for 23 years this was not an issue to my knowledge. I went to the Junior High that fed into this school the following year and yet I do not recall this being brought up. If you would fast forward the clock 24 years later to today, it would have been spotlighted in some platform of social media that is widely available and then picked up by a media outlet.

What has made me think of this is the fact that an elementary school in my home school district has caught the attention of the news media the past few weeks due to the ability to share raw video of a specific incident from the perspective of the parent without having knowledge of what happened. This in turn drew attention and drew hype to the media before the facts were presented, which they were. Sadly, while I have a wide array of access to media of the incident because I have particular relatable issues to a similar incident when I was of that age and therefore watching it would be very traumatic for me. Likewise incidents of that similarity did occur decades ago as well as decades before that, however their knowledge was able to be as widely as they are today.

Always realizing that, I have always been conscious of how I conduct myself in the eye of others because in this era where others can instantly publicize something that you may not even see as an issue in your eyes can get in to the arena of others who are quick to pass judgment on your reaction from only one point of view without knowing the facts of what truly occurred at said event. Additionally, it must be realized that with the evolution of the access to cellular telephones that law enforcement or other similar authorities can be dispatched in short order, while may be fruitful can also become further traumatizing, particularly if knowledge is not made of one’s particular needs, autism especially. Without the proper knowledge of one’s behavioral issues can cause further disruption and unwanted action due to lack of knowledge or training in behavioral issues. Therefore, it is imperative to be mindful of how one reacts to things in public and be aware if you or someone you care for is particularly up for venturing out in public. It is better to be safe than sorry as they say.

Experiencing these things in the past week has brought my attention to this when needing to leave the home and as to whether or not I am up to facing the public eye. It may be minimal but it is wiser to know whether I am aware of the ability to conduct myself properly in public rather than cause a detrimental scene.

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