Viral Photo Sparks Debate About Inclusion
A second grade class photo is stirring outrage online after a student who uses a wheelchair was depicted sitting apart from his peers.
In the image, students from the Herbert Spencer Elementary in New Westminster, British Columbia are posed in three, neat rows with their teacher. Miles Ambridge, however, is seated in his wheelchair off to the side with a visible gap dividing him from his classmates. The boy who has spinal muscular atrophy — a genetic condition that weakens the muscles — is seen leaning toward the other children with a smile on his face.
“He’s ostracized. He wants to be part of the gang so much,” Ambridge’s mother told The Province about the photo, which has since gone viral online.
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Though initially Lifetouch Canada, the photography company responsible for the photo, said they saw nothing wrong, they later agreed to retake the picture and told the newspaper that the incident would be a “learning experience” for the photographer.
In a statement posted to the company’s Facebook page Tuesday, they said that a new class photo has been delivered to the family.
“Lifetouch believes all students should be treated with respect and train our photographers accordingly. We made a mistake at Herbert Spencer elementary, but it was never intentional,” the statement said.
Ambridge’s parents said they’ve received messages of support from all over the world.