Teens support classmate with autism after he is turned away from dance

PELHAM, N.H. (WHDH) — Teenagers in Pelham, New Hampshire showed their support for their classmate with autism after he was turned away from a school dance.

Max Bedard, 14, has autism and a sensory processing disorder. His mother Michelle said he can only wear certain materials and clothing and others can even cause him anxiety.

“There are things that are extremely, extremely uncomfortable for him,” said Bedard. “He can’t wear buttons. His socks, I have to be careful what kind of socks I get him. The sewing around the toe can be very irritating.”

Max went to his school dance on Friday in sweatpants, clothing he was comfortable in. He said when he arrived, school officials told him his clothing did not fit the dress code and he had to leave.

“I cried about it so I decided to stay home because I felt really embarrassed and upset,” said Max. Bedard said five minutes after she dropped Max off, she was called and told to come pick him up.

“He was excited. He doesn’t get invited to birthday parties and he doesn’t go on play dates to friends’ houses,” said Bedard. “He was so excited about this and it was taken away from him.

Upset, Bedard vented her frustration on Facebook. “It is hurtful to me that my son, who is doing the best he can to fit in with his peers, was humiliated in such a way,” she wrote.

Those who saw Bedard’s post were inspired to launch a #MaxItMonday campaign to support Max. Students and staff members were asked to wear sweatpants and the color blue to school on Monday for autism awareness. Max said seeing everyone standing up for him was overwhelming.

“That was like if I was the president of the United States,” said Max.

The Pelham School District called this a case of miscommunication, saying Max was never told to leave, only that he had to change his clothing. Bedard said the school is planning to hold two more dances in the spring that celebrate the differences in others.

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