Josie Webster, a 16-year-old teenager from Australia with Down Syndrome, has accomplished quite a bit in her short life span: she’s rafted down the Shotover River in New Zealand, she’s walked through the Uluru rock formation in Central Australian, and she has crept through the Vietnamese war tunnels. What she wasn’t able to do, however, was attend her school’s annual class dance.
That’s because according to her mother she wasn’t invited. Neither were the three other special needs students who attend Engadine High School in southern Sydney. In fact, Julie—Josie’s mom—only found out about the event after other students posted photos of themselves at the party. But instead of letting this apparent slight go unanswered, Julie Webster made a heartwarming video celebrating her daughter.
“She may not get to dress up and dance, but… I will continue to dance with her, even if no-one else does,” she said in the video.
For their part, Engadine school officials are denying that they excluded Josie and the three other students and are claiming that the event was a private affair. Current and former students have also stepped up to defend Engadine on the school’s Facebook page.
“Most supportive and caring school I have ever been in,” noted one former pupil. “Every single student is treated fairly and equally.”
It’s hard to really say who’s telling the truth here. Regardless, it looks like Julie will get a chance to dance till her heart’s content. An Australian news outlet is reporting that various individuals who’ve come across this story have offered to throw her and the other students a party of their own. So happy ending, I guess?
Fidel Martinez is an editor at Fusion.net. He's also a Texas native and a lifelong El Tri fan.