Local Student With Special Needs Fights Back When School Tells Him He Can't Be Part Of Field Day
By Steve Patterson
FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (CBS) -- A Bucks County high school student with special needs fought back when his school told him he could not participate in student field day.
He took to social media and that changed everything.
Jake Wesely says, "It wasn't fair."
Even without the ability to use his legs, 14-year-old Jake has no problem taking a stand.
"I don't think people in wheelchairs or with any disease should be excluded from activities."
As a child, Jake was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A generic disease that degrades muscles over time.
Generally, it makes life tough and it makes life short.
"He's always been a strong advocate for himself and for other kids with disabilities," says Jake's father Keith.
Keith says that advocacy kicked in last Friday when the family received a letter from From Jake's school.
"My wife and I were very upset."
The letter, from Bucks County Technical High School, was addressed to about 60 students labeled "medically exempt" from the school's athletic field day.
In plain language, it tells parents their children aren't allowed to participate, they have to wear special wristbands to denote their status and if they're caught removing the bands or participating in the day, they face quote "disciplinary consequences."
Labeled and sidelined.
"I was heartbroken. Really. You can't be doing it like that I mean there needs to be some kind of checks and balances."
Turns out, there was.
"When I got the letter I was pretty mad -- cause I really like field day," Jake says.
Within ten minutes of getting that letter Jake took action, posting it on Twitter, calling for justice, and connecting to disability groups.
Jake stood up and his school took note.
Dr. Leon Poeske says,"My first reaction was we made a mistake and it needs to be fixed."
When school officials saw what Jake wrote, they immediately retracted a letter they'd been putting out for years and issued a full apology.
"I'm happy he brought it to our attention because again, we were wrong," says Dr. Poeske.
Jake's advocacy is already changing classroom culture, making life better for students now and for years to come.
"I'm very proud. Yeah, he's the man," says Jake's dad.
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