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Teen Called ‘Ableist’ For Refusing To Let Disabled Classmate Be Part Of Group Acting Project

Photo by NeONBRAND/Unsplash

Being a teen is hard.

There is so much to navigate personally and at school.

You’re not going to get everything right or say everything right all of the time.

You should just be kind and do your best.

Case in point…

Redditor ShioriAkai wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for not wanting a disabled kid to be in my group for a project?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“At school, there was a project for English which required acting.”

“During the first lesson that we had for this task, my group (14 or 15 year olds) and I decided to do a certain scene from the book.”

“Now, this task required everyone to be a major role so none of us could be trees, tables, etc…”

“My group had 4 people in it which was perfect for the scene that we were planning to do.”

“(We were allowed 3-6 people per group.) We planned the basic outline for the scene and started on it.”

“Apparently we were one of the few teams who actually did get that far on it, most of the other groups were still deciding on their scene or barely started planning.”

“On top of that, we also met up after school and practiced a bit.”

“A disabled kid, ‘Skye’ (16 F[emale]) was absent the first lesson along with quite a few others due to COVID reasons.”

“I’m not sure what Skye’s disability is due to the fact that I’ve never been close with her.”

“I guess we never ended up in similar friendship circles.”

“But she needs to use a walker to get around (if that adds anything important to the story).”

“At the start of the lesson, our teacher said something about how far along our group was + how efficient we were being and congratulated us on it.”

“Skye immediately comes over and demands that she is a part of our team.”

“No one else in our team knows Skye well so I didn’t think that she’d want to be a part of our group.”

“I tell her that we’ve already sorted stuff out and have chosen a scene with only 4 people in it so it would be hard for us to include her in it.”

“I also said that it would be better for her if she joins some of the girls who were also absent or a team that would be able to include her.”

“Skye is well known for playing the ‘I have a disability so you all have to do what I want’ card so no one else in my group says anything.”

“Skye starts screaming about how ableist I’m being by excluding her.”

“I say that I would’ve done the same to everyone else unless there was no other groups that they could be with”

“The group of people who were absent the last lesson were asking if she wanted to be in their group.”

“She starts talking about how I’m making her already difficult life even harder.”

“The teacher comes in, gives me an annoyed look and suggests that Skye should be with the group of kids who were absent the lesson before because it would be better for her.”

“Skye tells the teacher that she can decide to join whichever group she wants.”

“Especially because she is disabled but the teacher replies, saying that our group would have to start all over again if she joined.”

“Skye then sighs, rolls her eyes, then turns and walks towards another group.”

“My group later thanks me for standing up and not making us start all over again.”

“But, at lunch, Skye and her friends start calling me ableist and racist (Skye has dark skin).”

“AITA for not letting Skye join our group?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“I saw the title and thought Y T A, but no, not this time.”

“Since your reasons don’t have anything to do with her disability or race.”

“I’d ignore her and her friends.”

“People that know you will know you aren’t ableist or racist. NTA.”  ~ mathlady85

“A more accurate title would be ‘AITA for not wanting to restart a school project so an absent classmate could join our group.'”

“You’re NTA, because your reasons didn’t have anything to do with Skye being disabled or not.”

“Even if you had squeezed her in, it would have been a minor role or as a prop character (like a tree) to avoid redoing all your work.”

“And she likely would have been just as mad.”  ~ BabyCowGT

“Notice she lost interest in joining their group when the teacher said they would have to restart, though.”

“She just wanted a group that had already done most of the work so she’d get an easier ride.”

“And when she realised that her joining that group would place them behind all the others and mean she’d have to contribute.”

“She headed off to find the group with the second-biggest headstart. NTA.”  ~ ZdCole

“My guess is she chose them cause she saw the praise they were getting and noticed they were finished so she didn’t have to do any work.”

“That would have been a win for her. NTA, OP.”

“She knew what she was doing.”

“And it’s unfortunate that she plays that card to get what she wants.”

“She’s going to find herself having a difficult time for being a difficult person when she gets older.”

“And it won’t be because she’s disabled.” ~ jitsufitchick

“That’s exactly what it was.”

“I actually had a group in a college class do the opposite of this one time.”

“The day before finals, the group mutinied and decided to kick out one of their group members and not allow her to participate in the final project.”

“Their rationale was that she had missed too much and not done anything, even though all of their project checkpoints indicated the group was doing fine.”

“She had zero opportunity to join another group and would have failed the class.”

“She also had ADA accommodations for absences because of chronic illness, so their little mutiny opened up a whole sh**storm of issues.”

“Come to find it out, the entire project was based on her idea and she managed to pull an individual report together, with the same length and information, in less than a week.”

“They’d let her carry the core of the project, and then kicked her out to take credit for it.”

“I’ve never hated a group of students like I did then.” ~ sheath2

“People who use the disabled and race card to get what they want are almost as bad as people who are actually ableist and racist because it gives those people ammo to use in their hatred.”

“I was so ready to label you the AHole immediately, but no, you are the furthest from being the Ahole. NTA OP.”

“If Skye and her friends don’t stop with their name calling, feel free to take it up with your teacher.”

“Or the principle. Or someone. Because what she’s doing is not ok.”  ~ NightWitch65

“If it helps any, writing/revisiting the title after you write a post or essay really helps!”

“A lot of people get stuck on ‘this is the first thing people see, it needs to be the first thing I write.’”

“When in reality, titles tend to be best written last!”

“That way you already have all of your talking points written down and you can better summarize what you’re writing :)”

“Quick edit: You’re definitely NTA though, just thought the tip could be helpful!”

“One of my english teachers in high school taught me it and it improved my titles immediately.”  ~ lanadelphox

“NTA but working on careful wording will help out a lot through life.”

“Not my strong suit and I had to work hard, I still get it wrong frequently.”

“The wording issue that jumped out to me wasn’t in the title, it was toward the beginning of the body.”

“At one point you say something about everyone had major roles and no one could be trees or anything.”

“With the topic that could easily be taken as -you didn’t want the person with a disability because you thought they would only be capable of non major roles- reading the rest it’s clear that that’s not the case.”

“It’s more that you picked a scene with 4 parts for a 4 person group and there isn’t a 5th speaking role in your scene.”

“The only way to allow Skye in would to kick someone out or choose a new scene and start the whole project over.”

“This is because allowing her into the group and adding some token minor role to the scene would not meet the requirements on the assignment the teacher gave.”  ~ cksc51

“Same here – came here, foaming at the mouth, thinking it was going to be some bs about ‘it would look funny if someone in the group was in a wheelchair’ – but no.”

“OP’s reasons were valid and absolutely understandable. NTA.”   ~ Corfiz74

Looks like Reddit is firm with OP, though it seems her wording could use help.

OP seems receptive to learning.

Hopefully everyone at school can work through this as take it as a life lesson.