Mom says special needs son told to remove letter jacket

Michael Kelley, who has Down syndrome and autism, is not a varsity athlete but participates in extracurricular special-needs basketball at Wichita East High School in Kansas, according to

Kelley got the jacket from his family and when he was honored for his participation on the team, they bought a letter and affixed it to the jacket.

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A parent made the complaint about the letter jacket, according to Jolinda Kelley, Michael’s mother.

“Another parent ... was upset that my son was wearing a letter jacket,” she said.

The school district does not have a policy regarding special-needs students and awarding varsity letters.

“We have considered it and our decision was no,” school Principal Ken Thiessen said. “That is not appropriate ... because it is not a varsity-level competition.”

The school clarified their position to local media, stating that Kelley was never asked by a school official to remove his jacket and replace it with a sweatshirt.

Teachers told the parents of a special needs child they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket -

Posted by KSN TV on Thursday, March 26, 2015

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