Tags: class | photo | retaken | disabled | boy

Class Photo Retaken To Include Disabled Boy Edged Out of Original

Friday, 21 Jun 2013 01:48 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Sparked by outrage over a slighted wheelchair-bound 7-year-old, the boy's fellow second-grader retook a photo to right a serious wrong.

In the new shot, Miles Ambridge sits in the front row on the far right, beaming with his classmates at Herbert Spencer Elementary, according to NBC's Today.com, a stark contrast to what his heartbroken parents witnessed a few days earlier.

In that original photo, Ambridge is seated off to the right in his wheelchair, not-so-subtly signaled out from the group. The boy still beams for the camera, but has to stretch his neck to try and be part of the group. The photo went viral after first running on the cover of Canadian newspaper, The Province, last Friday.

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"When we saw the new photo come out, the world's been put back as it should be," the boy's father, Don Ambridge, told NBC's TODAY.com. "It was so, so, so hurtful to see that original picture with my little boy pushed off to the side."

Miles has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that attacks spinal nerve cells and weakens muscles. Diagnosed at 13 months, he must use a wheelchair to get around.

The boy's mom, Anne Belanger, reached out to the company responsible for the picture, Lifetouch Canada, and posted the image to its Facebook page. She didn't get a response. Dom Ambridge then scanned the photo and emailed it to the school principal, who had the same reaction.

The company retook the photo last week.

"Lifetouch believes all students should be treated with respect and train our photographers accordingly," the company said in a statement on its Facebook page. "We made a mistake at Herbert Spencer Elementary and we are sorry, but it was never intentional. We worked directly with the family and school to retake the class photo and the new portrait was delivered yesterday."

Ambridge, who lives in New Westminster, British Columbia, said he has been overwhelmed by the public's response. He also understands why some have questioned the decision to take Miles out of his wheelchair for the shot.

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"But that's his decision to make, not others," Don Ambridge said. "When we get home from school, the first thing he wants to do is go hang out on the couch and maybe play some Wii, maybe read a book. He wants to take a break from the chair. I think there's an easy tendency to really politicize this from different angles.

"At the end of the day, if this helps people understand a little bit more about having that awareness, then it's a win for everyone."

Especially Miles.

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