Bates Technical College students: ‘We have to be brave to say we’re disabled’
— Bates Technical College graduates are making headlines again.
On Monday, a student named Amy Leong made headlines for writing a story about how she was unable to write and write well because of her disabilities.
“I am disabled,” Leong wrote in her piece.
“It affects my ability to speak and understand my thoughts and my body.
It affects my sense of humor and ability to laugh at myself and others.
I have a disability.”
The story caught the attention of the media and led to several tweets about disability issues on the Bates Twitter page.
We are disabled, Amy Leongs students told me.
#BatesStudents @BatesTechnicalCollege we have to get brave to admit we are disabled and we can’t write like everyone else.
We are a bunch of idiots.
We have a job to do, not a disability.
The students who participated in the article, along with the hashtag #BATESBASED, were quick to share their stories and the positive response to the story.
Leong, who says she is a fifth-generation American Indian, is an engineering major.
She says she has been working for her masters degree since high school and has been applying for jobs ever since.
She said she wanted to write about how the school was a welcoming place for people with disabilities.
“The fact that they’re all working so hard and doing everything they can to help me succeed in a way that I can be happy is pretty incredible,” she said.
When she came to Bates in 2015, she said, she didn’t think much of the school.
It was “like a school in a box,” she told the Tulsa World.
“We were told it was just a good school, but it’s not a school you would want to attend.”
She didn’t have much luck.
After a few years, she came back to the school and found out she had cerebral palsy.
The school had a disability coordinator for Leong and other students with disabilities, and they were able to give her the information she needed to get hired as a laborer.
In the fall of 2016, Leong received a job offer from Bates Technical.
But the new position required her to attend meetings with a team of people from the school’s disability community, including her father and mother, according to Leong.
BATES Technical, the school told the Times-News, declined to comment on the student’s story or the controversy surrounding the article.