Misunderstood Students

Taylor Albert, Reporter

Ball High has many students who have to mask their real identities every day so they won’t be ostracized by other students because of mental and physical illness or disabilities known or unknown. A certain mental disability among students walking the halls is Tourette’s.

Tourette’s is a nervous system disorder that causes involuntary repetitive movements or sounds. Grayson Gifford, a Senior at Ball High, suffers from this condition. In his words, “School has always been tough for students with disabilities like tics, Tourette’s, autism and others.” “Having to mask tics so I don’t get bullied and/or harassed. It has always been tough, especially while taking tests, and in a quiet environment. I start to hyperventilate. I have to leave class.

There’s been multiple occasions when said tics have come out. I have been treated as different in a bad way. Sometimes the tics cause me physical pain. The stigma behind it and people who don’t understand it believe you’re stupid or like to be annoying or think you’re weird. This is why I have to mask it.”

Gifford explains that having Tourette’s is not something that is fun to have, and some people fake it, which makes the stigma around this so much worse. People with Tourette’s cannot control what they have- it is not their fault that they make noises or move spastically.

Educating people on this mental disability and other disabilities is important for others to understand. To make this school a more accepting place, we need to educate ourselves and others about what people are going through and provide spaces for those struggling with different disabilities.