That very likely could be the most outrageous question I have ever heard!!
Kallie,as many of you know, has ichthyosis and her skin looks differently than others. However, at 5 years old, Kallie is basically unaware that she looks differently. Today is no exception. She is dressed in a precious bright yellow smocked dress and her hair is in a ponytail. Just a regular day for us.
At the Mobile County Public Library a teenage library volunteer asks the question to Kallie...are you a leopard today? Seriously. Makes my heart hurt. Thankfully, Kallie just let it roll off her back and didn't respond. She either didn't hear her or didn't understand what she was saying. Kallie was busy writing her name on her name tag and running off to find her seat for the program.
If looks could kill, the girl would be dead. She attempted to apologize, but no apologizes accepted. That behavior is unacceptable. We do our very best to help Kallie deal with her skin and understand that she is unique. She is taught to say..."God made me that way". She is beautiful in every way. However, we all know that one day those comments are going to be hurtful to Kallie. Makes me furious.
I reported this conduct to a library worker. After stewing all afternoon, I plan to speak to the Branch Manager. I am going to insist that the entire staff research Ichthyosis and have some sensitivity training. I have often wondered what place it would be that Ichthyosis would be discussed. Why not start at the Mobile County Public Library staff? I will offer to do the sensitivity training. I have trained many volunteers during my career. Why not Ichthyosis sensitivity training? And why not Mobile County Public library staff?
A good place to start.