Teachers with disabilities march for change at Capitol

Posted at 3:08 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 16:14:32-04

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It's difficult to maneuver through the masses, as the crowd just keeps growing outside the Capitol.

Some are marching with canes or wheelchairs, but they say this is no more challenging than a day in class.

"MS has its challenges. But the kids are real helpful. When I use my cane in the classroom I may walk off and leave it. They'll go get it, bring it, and say "you need this!" Edwards Elementary teacher LaHoma Harding said.
Harding said it's the same at the capitol, as teachers accommodate each other to make their message heard.

"If we were here for the easy way out we would go back to work. We're here to make change," West Moore High School teacher Chris Watkins said.

Watkins teaches special needs students, and was inspired to become a teacher after almost entirely losing the ability to walk while playing football at the University of Oklahoma.

"They watch me limp and waddle through my classroom and it teaches them compassion and understanding. It teaches them perseverance. If I can be a role model for one kid with a disability to just keep fighting that's worth every bit of it," he said.

Watkins said it's not about pay raises, but points out that educators are still facing challenges outside the classroom.

"I actually have a special ed kid living with me right now. I have to ask him to pay me rent even though he's homeless in the world... just to help pay for the groceries so I can afford to keep him," he said.

Across the board, this group wants to send a message that they aren't backing down.

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