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Disabled student sidelined during choir performance | Education

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Disabled student sidelined during choir performance

COBB COUNTY, Ga. (WXIA) --  A photo posted on the 11Alive Facebook page has prompted an outpouring of comments.

It shows  choir members from several six grade schools performing Tuesday night at South Cobb High School,  while wheelchair bound Alex Pollard, also a chorus member, was kept way off to the side.

Alex's mother, Arla Jan Wilson, said she was just sure someone would roll him up to the group before the music started, but everyone seemed to completely ignore him.

"To see the look on his face, it broke my heart.  It was totally unacceptable.  That should never happen to my child, or any other disabled student out there," said Wilson.

Wilson said her 12-year-old son, who is in a wheelchair because of Cerebral Palsy, was so excited to join the chorus after seeing the hit show "Glee".

The choir director, Lars Grevstad, is actually Alex's chorus teacher at Cooper Middle School. 

Wilson said she chose to send Alex to that school because it has accomodations and training for special needs students.

No one from the Cobb County School District would go on camera, but released a statement saying:

It was a regrettable oversight that the student with special needs was not positioned with the rest of his schoolmates during the choral performance. The student has been a member of the chorus for the entire school year and there have been no prior issues. The choral director has cited several reasons why this occurred but accepts responsibility. The matter will be investigated and, if necessary, appropriate personnel action will be taken. That action could include a letter of reprimand and/or sensitivity training.

Yet, when 11Alive's Duffie Dixon spoke to the district earlier in the day it acknowleged it had talked to the choir director, Lars Grevstad.

According  to spokesperson Jay Dillon, among the reasons Grevstad gave was that a student helper usually rolls Alex up to the choir.  That student helper was apparently absent.  Dillon said Grevstad also unfortunately never saw Alex off to the side.

"I find that hard to believe," countered Wilson, "since the director came and welcomed Alex personally before the performance started."