SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah mother says the high school that angered her by leaving special education students out of its yearbook has decided to print special inserts with their photos.
Leslee Bailey says the principal of Blue Peak High School in Tooele, Utah, called her to apologize Tuesday.
Bailey has said her daughter, Amber Bailey, had been upset by the omission, but the principal told her he never meant to for that to happen.
“It’s too late, but they’re trying really hard to fix it,” Leslee Bailey said. “They’re owning up to the mistake.”
Students will be able to pick up the insert page, featuring pictures of 21-year-old Amber Bailey and her 16 classmates, next week.
The students attend a special job skills program that shares the building with the high school.
Leslee Bailey said the yearbooks from Blue Peaks High School typically include pictures of the training program students, and her daughter realized she wasn’t in this year’s edition only after going through it several times.
“She was disappointed,” Leslee Bailey said. “She was waiting to see herself and her friends.”
Tooele County School District Superintendent Scott Rogers wasn’t available late Tuesday to discuss the insert.
He said earlier that the decision to leave the special education students out of the yearbook wasn’t motivated by malice or bad intentions. Rogers said it was intended to reflect the separation of the training program and high school.
He said workforce transition program participants and Blue Peak alternative high school students rarely interact, adding that the 18- to 22-year-old special education learners received a commemorative video instead of a yearbook.
“I don’t think anyone at Blue Peak felt like they were doing anything exclusionary,” Rogers said. “We don’t exclude special education students.”
Leslee Bailey, however, said the students interact regularly in the lunchroom, hallways and on the bus.
She said parents and students should have been advised of the change.
“The yearbook is not for the administration,” Leslee Bailey said. “It’s for the students. Nobody asked the students what they wanted.”
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