Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Special Olympics Bars Student With Special Needs From Basketball Squad
CHICAGO -- Jenny Youngwith and her parents were excited when Special Olympics arrived at West Chicago Community High School offering after-school sports programs for students with special needs.
The 17-year-old with developmental disabilities, who fatigues easily because of a respiratory problem, wanted to play on the school's Special Olympics basketball team. She would get to wear the school's blue and white Wildcats uniform in games against other schools and be in the yearbook and on the Web site. She would feel included, which for any teen — especially a special-needs student — is a big deal.
The Carol Stream girl signed up and, with her service dog, began practicing with the team. But just before the first game in 2009, Special Olympics told her parents that Youngwith could not play.