Special needs student asked to remove jacket with varsity letter on it

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WICHITA, Kansas – Michael Kelley, a student at Wichita East High School, loves basketball according to his mother.

Kelley has Down Syndrome and autism and participates in extra-curricular special needs basketball, according to KSN.

His mother bought him a letter jacket with a varsity letter for his athletic accomplishments, but she said he was recently asked to remove it while at school.

“Another parent, from what I am told, was upset that my son was wearing his letter jacket,” Kelley’s mother told KSN.

She says she was told that the letters are only for varsity athletes to wear.

East High Principal Ken Thiessen says, “Teachers told the parents they would prefer he not wear the letter on his jacket.”

Thiessen said the school considered allowing special needs students to earn varsity letters, but opted against it because they aren’t competing in varsity level sports.

School board members were also contacted about revising the policy, and one member told KSN they would be open to reevaluating it.

Kelley’s mother said she knows each school can make the rules, but she wants to see a rule change at her son’s school.

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