Changes

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Mom and dad told me the news. I looked at them as they waited for my response.

"Rain," dad looked at me questionably.

"Can I still work on my puzzle," I asked him.

"Yes," he said.

"Okay," I shrugged as I got up and went into the other room. 

"That went better than I expected," he said to mom.

I don't know what my parents expected. They were coming to school, cool. But it's not a big deal.

The next day, I got up, did my routine and had breakfast. Antonio picked me up and took me to school.  We went to the room and worked on the puzzle.

While we worked on the puzzle, dad called quite a few people into the office and also called their parents. He started with Ella and Darcy.

They sat in the office while he met with the parents.

"Expulsion?!  You can't do this," Ella's father exclaimed.

"Would you like charges brought against your daughter for her assaulting mine?"  He asked him.  Her dad looked at him. "Didn't think so. You're daughters have exhibited childish and poor behavior. They have bullied and assaulted a student and others.  While that may be acceptable behavior for you, it's not acceptable to me."

"Fine but expect a lawsuit," he huffed as he stood up.

As they were about to leave, dad said, "that's fine but expect a counter lawsuit consider autism falls under the disability act of 1990.  While you may run around threatening a lawsuit, I can counter one of my own. Do you honestly think people will deal with someone that files a lawsuit against a family with a child that has a disability. Think long and hard about this."

They looked at him. The one thing is dad says knowledge is power. While most were afraid to take a stand, he wasn't.  Not when it came to us.

After Ella and Darcy, he expelled Lyle along with a few others. He put in place a strict policy in regards to bullying.  He also held an assembly.

I didn't sit with everyone because I couldn't deal with the huge crowd. I stayed off to the sidelines with mom while dad walked onto the stage.

"Good afternoon. For anyone who does not know me at this moment, my name is Principal Hardwick. I will be your principal. Most of you know my daughter Rainbow Hardwick. You may know my sons, Luke and Cole Hardwick as well. Majority of you I've had in first grade," he told everyone.

"Now I called this assembly in regards to bullying. Most of you are aware of what bullying is and if you aren't aware let me explain it to you. It's calling names, touching others inappropriately, making fun of someone, teasing, and bashing anyone online.  At some point everyone has been bullied in their life and it hurts."

Everyone sat there and listened to him.

"As of today, that all stops. Bullying is a serious offense. Anyone caught doing so will be expelled. You should be able to come to school judgment free and be able to learn. Now I want you to introduce you to someone special.  I made a special call and they agreed. Please welcome Hope Morgan," he introduced a older woman.

I stood there as she walked out onto the stage. A guy followed her and stood next to her as he took a microphone.

Then she started to sign and he spoke into the microphone.

"Hello, my name is Hope Morgan and I'm deaf. This is my brother Charlie and he will translate for me. I have been deaf all my life. I wasn't born with those little hair in your ears and my ear drums never developed properly. I was in a special school most of my life but was tired of feeling different."

I stepped forward as her hands fascinated me.

"I went to regular high school and was the victim of bullying. People mocked me, made fun of me, referred to me as being retarded. All of that was far from the truth. I was really smart and I didn't take shit from anyone."

Everyone laughed.

"See, I have a sense of humor and feelings. I'm deaf not stupid. I was lucky enough to meet my husband and best friends because of this. They were a couple of idiots," she sighed as everyone laughed.

"But they understood that having a disability is not a bad thing. But bullying others is. We are all different and unique which makes us amazing in our own way. I don't know what it's like not to be deaf, since I've been this way all my way. I also have a crazy sense of humor because humor is essential to get you through the rough times. Trust me, my husband knows first hand."

I stared at her.

"When I was asked to speak I figured why not because we all need a Rainbow in our lives especially after a storm," she signed as she turned to me and smiled. This made me smile.

"Be kind, be humble and most importantly love each other," she finished.

Everyone started clapping and I covered my ears as she waved to all of them. Then she walked off the stage towards me. The man followed her.

She looked at me and signed, "Hello Rainbow. It's an honor to meet you."

"Really?" I looked at her surprise.

"Really. Stay amazingly beautiful," she smiled as I smiled back at her. She gently touched my hands as she left.

I looked at mom, "she's different like me."

"Yep she is," she smiled.

"That's so cool," I said excitedly. My mom smiled. There were different people like me out there. For once I didn't feel so different.

After the assembly, Antonio walked over to me.

"Did you see Antonio? Someone is different like me and wanted to meet me," I said excitedly.

"I saw," he smiled. I hugged him. To me this was a big deal. Maybe not to others but to me it was.

"She even talked with her hands."

"That's sign language," he explained to me.

"I think sign language is cool. Don't you," I asked him.

"Very cool," he agreed.

I had never seen anyone talk with their hands.  I liked that she used her hands. It was beyond cool to me.

While people talked about the assembly, I was too wrapped up with the concept of sign language. It amazed me how people did that and people understood them. When I got home, I got on the computer and searched about sign language.

For hours I looked at pictures and read. Whatever I didn't understand, Antonio explained it to me.  For me this amazing.  I wanted to learn sign language.

If I can learn how to tie my shoes, ride a bike, make my bed, I can learn sign language.  Antonio worked with me on it. My family watched us as he helped me move my fingers and hands to create letters.

"Rain watch," he said as he signed and spoke I love you.  I followed him, doing it back. We smiled at each other as he leaned over and kissed me.

"Love exist in every language, doesn't it," I asked him.

"Yeah it does. No matter what language or world, love is universal," he answered.

"I like that."  We looked at each other as my family looked at him.

It didn't matter who were, when it came to love it didn't see the differences. It didn't judge. It didn't discriminate. It was an amazing feeling. It brought people together. It made us whole.  I think love is important.  Way better than hate and stronger.  If you want to destroy hate then give love. It's the only thing that makes us the same.  That's how I see it.

A/N: Hope Morgan is from the trilogy A Touch Of Hope. She is a deaf character that has learned how to handle her disability with humor and grace. She was one of my favorite characters to write. I thought it was fitting to include her in this because her character was bullied in the story.

Disabilities aren't always prominent and visible. Sometimes you don't always see them but they are there. While Autism is classified as a disability the best thing anyone can do is treat someone with kindness and understanding.

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