For Pete's Sake

Wichita East High School says special-needs student wasn't told to remove varsity letter

Twitter screenshot

If this is true, then something really needs to change.

The television station KSN reported that a Wichita East special-needs student was told to remove his letter jacket at school.

According to the TV station, Michael Kelley has Down Syndrome and autism. He plays basketball, so his family bought a varsity letter for him to wear. The story says the letter is an official Wichita East varsity letter.

“Another parent, from what I had been told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket,” Michael’s mom, Jolinda Kelly, told KSN.

The school’s principal, Ken Thiessen, told the Wichita Eagle on Saturday that no one told Michael to remove the jacket.

“The incident, if you call it that, happened more than a year ago,” Thiessen told the Eagle.

A teacher told Jolinda Kelley that he probably shouldn’t wear a varsity letter because he had not participated on a varsity team.

However, Thiessen told the TV station in its report that Wichita East considered letting special-needs students to wear the letters, but it was “not appropriate because it’s not a varsity-level competition.”

Here is the original KSN story.

Thanks to Sam Mellinger, who brought this to my attention:

A petition has been started to change this policy at Wichita East.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.