Update: The Crown Attorney's Office claims the letter fails to constitute a hate crime under the current Criminal Code, which doesn't include people with disabilities. Please help change that now by signing and sharing this petition.
I literally feel sick to my stomach after reading about an anonymous letter received by a family which describes their severely autistic boy as a “nuisance” and a “wild animal” who should be “euthanized.”
“I was shaking when I was reading it,” said grandmother Brenda Millson. “It’s awful words. You don’t know why somebody would ever do such a thing.”
The typed letter, written by "a pissed off mother," was delivered to Millson's home in Newcastle, Ont., where 13-year-old Max Begley stays in the mornings during the summer. Though the community has united to support the family, the police have been contacted. I pray the author of the letter, whoever she is, is found and prosecuted for her hate crime.
As I sit here reeling, I can't imagine how this compassionless woman can call herself a mother. Of course we will hear this story and shake our heads, disgusted at the typed words. Words that countless people have probably thought but never said out loud. While this missive may seem extreme, I don't think the ignorance behind it is all that rare.
Every day, parents of children with special needs fend off judgmental stares and rude comments when they are out with their families. You blurt out a diagnosis by way of apology. Oh, but he doesn't look it. That's the all-too-common response.
Max's mom Karla said her son loves nothing more than bouncing a ball. It breaks my heart that she feels the need to justify his right to play outside, in the safety of his grandma's backyard.
We need to do better. All of us. Don't be a coward like this woman. If you catch yourself staring, be friendly. Show support, not judgment. After all, it could be you. It could be your child.
A Pissed Off Mother