Numerous special-needs students from a New York school "participated" in National Walkout Day "to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting and encourage change," according to a Twitter post from the Viscardi Center, which runs the Henry Viscardi School for special-needs students on Long Island.
The tweet included three photos of students gathered outside for Wednesday's event:
Students from the #HenryViscardiSchool participated in #NationalWalkoutDay to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland… https://t.co/3lQaetAPWr— The Viscardi Center (@The Viscardi Center)1521043708.0
The Henry Viscardi School "offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day, a traditional educational setting option that provides academics and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development."
While the Viscardi Center's tweet received no comments as of Friday afternoon, the Women's March tweeted the same photographs in a post thanking the students for their leadership — and that tweet received a number of angry reactions:
- "Way to exploit vulnerable children," one user commented. "So wrong."
- "This is crazy… Using kids as props is bad enough, but disabled kids?" another user said.
- "Did you really just use special needs children to promote your agenda?" another asked. "You truly are a disgusting organization.
- "Horrible, immoral treatment of not only minors, but handicapped at that," another user complained. "The left knows no bottom to which they will not sink."
- "I'm the father of an adult mentally handicapped daughter," one user added. "If she had been there, I would be in jail right now, and at least one of you would be in the hospital, in a coma or worse. Possibly in the morgue. How dare you. How DARE you take advantage of them this way. You are scum."
But not all the comments were negative.
- "Good for them and more power to them," one user reacted.
- "Well done to those kids," another said. "I know violence against people with disabilities is a major concern. They have the right to keep learning and growing like we all do. Keep speaking out."
And the Women's March on Washington Disability Caucus had this to say:
We are extremely proud of the students at @ViscardiCenter and deeply sadden by some of the ableist remarks people h… https://t.co/QtF8awZTid— WMDisabilityCaucus (@WMDisabilityCaucus)1521223775.0
The Viscardi Center on Friday didn't immediately reply to TheBlaze's request for comment on the negative reactions to the photographs of the students it posted.
Newsday reporter Laura Blasey said about 50 of the school's students "chose" to participate in the walkout and spoke to a trio of students on camera who "helped organize" it.
"It was important to us because we wanted to have our voices be heard and ... be part of something that was bigger than our school and to show our support," one student said in the video. "Because it could have been any of us ... and we wanted to have people understand that."
The student added that "things need to change. We need to make laws ... to make schools safer ... students can create change if we call come together."