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Sock Hypocrisy

Updated: Mar 26

Another year gone by, another World Down Syndrome Day in the books.  For me, it’s another year where something doesn’t sit quite right.  This year, I’m calling it out.

“What could possibly bother her about a day to celebrate people with Down Syndrome?” you might ask. 

A fun day where people don their most colorful and creative socks to represent the uniqueness of people with Down Syndrome?

A picture of someone's calves and feet wearing colorful socks and shoes

What bothers me is this…sock hypocrisy.

Sock hypocrisy looks like school districts wearing crazy socks for a day and calling themselves inclusive while routinely segregating children with disabilities in separate classrooms.  

It’s holding assemblies about disability acceptance followed by lunch in the cafeteria where the “life skills” class sits at their own table.

Sock hypocrisy is administrators who splash photos of themselves in fancy socks on social media and then take families who want their children included to due process hearings.

It’s newsletters with cheerful photos of a child with Down Syndrome front and center surrounded by peers, who is then shipped back down the hall to their “special” classroom after the photo op.

In Pennsylvania, it’s passing a law mandating disability-inclusive curriculum, when the very individuals we’re talking about aren’t in the classroom to learn the content.

It’s acting like you’re inclusive by rocking your socks for a day because you have to, without engaging in any meaningful work to be inclusive.

Sock hypocrisy is wearing the footwear without actually walking the talk.

There are plenty of inclusive schools that rock their socks each year - this blog is not for you.  Keep doing your thing and wear those socks proudly!

But to those districts who rock their socks in hopes that the efforts exerted on one day will appease families for an entire year…Can we just cut the crap already?

Instead of bringing in the communications department to take photos of your crazy socks, why not take steps towards actual, meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities?  

Instead of the social media campaign highlighting World Down Syndrome Day, why not begin dismantling programs and structures that promote the segregation of children with Down Syndrome?

Instead of merely implementing a disability-inclusive curriculum, why not ACTUALLY INCLUDE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN THE CURRICULUM?

These are not novel ideas.  

But my socks are wearing thin… 

I look forward to the day when we don’t need to have “a day” about inclusion of people with disabilities...the day when the apex of activism is more than awareness through socks.

Until then, I’ll wear my crazy socks AND I’ll kick up some dust for inclusion.

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In case you didn’t hear it, I just gave you a standing ovation from upstate NY! I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for articulating what many of us feel! ❤️

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