The PJ Tatler

Grinch of the Year: Kansas School Tells Down Syndrome Boy He Can't Wear Varsity Letter

Because athletic integrity, or something:

A Wichita woman claims her special needs son was asked to remove his letter jacket at school. The student, Michael Kelley, has Down Syndrome and autism. Kelley is not a varsity athlete but participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball. His family bought him a varsity letter like the other kids wear, but recently, his mother says he was asked to not wear the jacket.

Turns out, the letter is an official Wichita East High School varsity letter, and East High says he is not supposed to have that letter. KSN talked to his mother Jolinda Kelley. She says Michael, her adopted son, is one of a kind and loves to play basketball. When he was recognized for participating, Jolinda bought a varsity letter and put that letter on the jacket.

She was shocked when she says he was asked at school to take the jacket off. “Another parent, from what I am told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket.” The mother claims her son was asked to take that jacket off and was given a sweat shirt to wear instead. The family says it was told only varsity teams can wear the letter according to East High’s policy.

East High Principal Ken Thiessen says, “Teachers told the parents they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket.”

I am no fan of the Alice in Wonderland school of athletic achievement: “Everybody has won and all must have prizes.” But for crying out loud…