Philip Garber, Jr. is taking two classes at the County College of Morris in New Jersey, where the precocious 16-year-old student was allegedly asked by his professor, Elizabeth Snyder, to stop talking in class. According to an article in today’s New York Times, she called his speech “disruptive”, and a misuse of the other students’ time.

Philip is a stutterer.

Unfortunately, the kind of intolerance, ignorance and discrimination experienced by Philip Garber, Jr., is not reserved solely for those who stutter. It’s far too common for many individuals with a wide range of disability, including physical, behavioral and developmental. While we’ve made great strides in disability awareness and acceptance, we still have far to go to impact lasting change for all those who experience daily such intolerance.

I’m sharing Garber’s story here in the hope it helps creates needed awareness and lasting change brought about by the masses who read, absorb and then pass it on.

After all these years, it still amazes me that sometimes the worst offenders regarding discrimination and intolerance against those with disabilities are the seemingly most educated and accomplished of us, including those entrusted with the sacred responsibility of molding children’s futures.

We can and must do better.

Read the New York Times A Stutterer Faces Resistance From the Front of the Classroom here.

Photo Judy Winter 2011