You’ve probably heard about the 7-year-old little girl in Detroit who shielded her mother from her crazy ex-boyfriend when he tried to murder her a couple weeks back.
Today, CNN ran a follow-up story highlighting the fact that the child has a learning disability:
Alexis is learning-disabled and lags behind other youngsters her age. As a result, police say it may never be known whether Alexis meant to shield her mother from the bullets with her body.
As someone who taught a lot of kids with learning disabilities the past couple of years, I’m not sure if I can put into words just how disturbing this statement is to me.
First of all, having a learning disability does not mean you’re stupid. In fact, a kid can only be diagnosed with a learning disability if there is a notable disparity between their academic performance and their raw aptitude–i.e., poor school performance coupled with average or above average aptitude. Second of all, last time I checked, police officers weren’t the folks most qualified to analyze the capabilities of learning disabled children. And third of all, the whole tone of the comment makes it sound like people with learning disabilities are wackos. Having a learning disability has as much to do with mental or emotional stability as it does aptitude, and to say this kid just didn’t know what she was doing in the situation is degrading and ignorant.
CNN, you get an F for “fucking irresponsible reporting.”