Wheelchair, Class Photo Didn't Mix; Disabled Boy Almost Edged Out

Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 07:43 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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The parents of a 7-year-old wheelchair-bound student in Canada were furious when they saw their son's second grade class photo last month, which showed the child isolated off to the side.

Miles Ambridge, of New Westminster, British Columbia, suffers from a genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair. When the boy brought his class photo home last month from Herbert Spencer Elementary School, his parents were shocked to see him secluded off to the side, straining his neck to be closer to his classmates who were lined up neatly in rows on a set of bleachers.

"I couldn't comprehend how the photographer could look through the lens and think that this was good composition... This just boggled the mind," Anne Belanger, Ambridge's mother, told the Toronto Star. "Being picked on and being set aside is horrendous and this was what was happening."

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Don Ambridge's, the student's father, immediately wrote to Lifetouch Photography and asked that they retake the photo. He also posted the picture to the company's Facebook page and it soon went viral.

"It's a mix of humiliation for your little guy and sadness and you know, a little bit of anger," Ambridge told CBC News. "The problem is where do you put that anger?"

Lifetouch retook the class photo last week, with Miles Ambridge out of his wheelchair and sitting with the rest of the class, The Province reported.

His father said he never showed his son the original photo and that the boy is oblivious to the situation.

"He doesn't carry that perception of any wrongdoing or malice. He's just trying to be part of the picture and he's having a great time doing it," Ambridge told CBC News. "I think that’s part of the pain for me... It's just so innocent where you start thinking, 'How dare you?'"

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