This is A Letter To My Former Teachers at the Special School in Florida Who Believed I Was Profoundly Retarded. It treats me as the respected person they never knew.

by DJ Savarese

Dear Teachers,

I am writing to tell you that I’m getting stronger every day, testing breathing, feeling more responsible for my real grown-up self. Respectful years in regular education classes have taught me reading, writing, speech, and satisfaction. You’re not bringing hard real lessons to girls and boys at your school, so they can become awesome great human beings.

Dad has written a book about my fresh start. I’ve written the last chapter. Please read it because in it I write about how years of easy lessons were wasted. Why weren’t you teaching me to talk, to read, and to write? All you had to do was awesomely encourage me as smart and really kind and fresh start could have begun sooner. Your breathing would make me nervous. People weren’t assessing me as sweet, inspiring me to work at dreaming of trying to responsibly act like everyone deserving respect.

Quite pleased that you are respecting and reading this tested-as-smart, growing up better boy’s resentment. I live in constant fear that respect will be taken away, and I will have to return to easy years of doing nothing. You’re also resurrected in my mind when all I’m doing is wasting time. Fear wakes easy lessons, and I get mad. I want you to know that easy effort estimates kids as retarded when they’re smart; testing kids without encouraging them is wrong. Easy, quiet breathing waits to hear my words, and respect grows. Awesome, caring teachers read my writing and reward me by writing back. Reasonable people should each see what they can do to free people who really can understand. Teach your students to free themselves from resentment, so they desire to feel respected. Re-estimate them as smart. Read, write, and free the hearts and minds of these kids!

In the future, possibly, you will read my own books. I plan to become a writer. I wrote a chapter in my dad’s book already. In it I include my thoughts about testing. In the future I hope to encourage students who don’t speak to free themselves through writing. I also hope to read my speeches out loud. Until I freed myself through writing, people thought I had no mind. Freeing kids who are estimated as retarded is my hope for the future. Years of fresh start have begun!

Your respectful student,
DJ Savarese, sixth-grader, Grinnell Middle School