School Has Special Needs Students Digging Through Trash

Special Needs Recycle

I know there are many disturbing events taking place right now that are dominating the news cycle:  Our total failures in Iraq and the rise of ISIL, the ridiculous border crisis and amnesty, our absentee Golfer in Chief to name just a few, but there are so many things going on that don’t get covered.  As the grandfather of a teenager with special needs, this article really struck home:

From fixthisnation.com:  It’s impossible to say when the pro-environment movement crossed from the responsible into the ridiculous, but it can be said for certain that they have been there for some time. The latest example of the government overstepping their bounds has a public school in Jurupa Valley, California telling students with special needs to dig through the garbage to find recyclables.

Carmen Wells, the parent of one of the students, raised the biggest furor when her son came home ashamed after the first day of school at Patriot Valley High..

From CBS:

“It bothered my son, but he wants to be part of everyone, part of the team, so he’s going to do it,” Wells said. “I felt victimized for my child and his classmates.”

District officials confirm students with special needs were instructed to sift through trash cans for recyclables and that they’ve been having students with special needs do this for years. They said the money raised from the recycled items funds a larger training plan that teaches students with special needs about managing money, among other life skills.

The school district suspended the program once the outrage started pouring in, telling the media that they would consider getting some different bins for the recycling. What a concept. It’s also a pretty sad statement if the school thinks the “life skills” these students need involve sifting through garbage to find plastic bottles.

Forcing special needs children to dig through the trash for recyclable materials may be a new low as far as government programs go, but it is not the first time recycling has hurt people, hurt businesses, and even hurt the environment.

  • A late 90s scientific study showed that hundreds of Taiwanese buildings had been built from contaminated recycled steel, contaminating thousands of people with high levels of gamma radiation.
  • It came to light in 2007 that a Seattle recycling factory was among the biggest sources of airborne pollution in the entire Northwest.
  • Finally, it’s a little known fact that most kinds of common plastic cannot even be recycled. It all gets thrown into the bins (well, in those areas that bother to separate them beforehand), and then the non-recyclables get thrown into the landfill anyway. Environmentalists, therefore, call on people to sort through their recyclables again to make sure you’re only throwing the right kind of plastic into the blue bins.

In the face of all this, it would seem that the average person could be trusted to at least decide for themselves whether or not they want to recycle. There are arguments against the practice of non-aluminum recycling that cite higher costs and little environmental benefit, particularly when it comes to residential curbside recycling. For the most part, the federal government has kept its hands clean of legislation, but there are a few cities such as Seattle that levy fines against homeowners who don’t recycle.

In the end, it’s an easy thing to do, but many still wonder if it’s really worth it. Certainly, Marcus Wells and his mother think that recycling, like government, should have its limits.
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About Alan Berkelhammer

Opinions are my own and are not necessarily those of any organization or group.
This entry was posted in Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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