Teaching Medically Fragile Students in East Harlem

Ed Simon teaches an unusual class at PS 79, a District 75 school in East Harlem. Journalist Ellie Spielberg: “The children are hard to look at. They’re grimacing, twisting, flailing. Some are rocking and drooling. Some of them smell. One boy wears a helmet. Another is shrieking like a parrot. Others are eerily quiet. ... Some of the kids seem to be in emotional pain. You want to comfort them but don’t know how. ... Your own human frailty is staring you in the face. How would you handle it if your own son or daughter was born with this kind of disability? What if you have a car accident and, in one horrible second, you suffered the same kind of disability?”

The work Simon and his fellow educators do is hard to imagine, and one window onto their heroic everyday efforts is through photography.


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