For Anne Belanger, it was completely unacceptable. Her son, Miles, was pushed off to the side and confined to his wheelchair while his classmates gathered on the bleachers for their class photograph.
The heartbreaking photograph went viral this weekend, sparking accusations that the photography company, Lifetouch Canada, Inc., were being discriminative to Miles and his spinal muscular atrophy disability.
“I couldn’t comprehend how the photographer could look through the lens and think that this was good composition,” Miles Ambridge’s mom Anne Belanger said. “This just boggled the mind.”
The New Westminster, British Columbia, native said she refused to show her 7-year-old the photo — “Look at the angle that he was in. He wants to be part of the gang so much,” — but did post it on Lifetouch’s Facebook page to bring the injustice to the company’s attention.
“This was not a malicious act,” Belanger acknowledged. “I don’t think it was done on purpose. I just don’t think there was any rational thinking behind it.”
“For some reason it makes me feel even worse that he’s so happy in the picture,” said Miles’ dad, Don Ambridge. “I think it’s because he’s still innocent…He’s still naive to how other people can treat him.”
The photography company agreed that the photo was a mistake and have arranged a re-shoot with Miles sitting on the bench beside his classmates.
But that will be the last shoot Lifetouch Canada will do for the school – Herbert Spencer Elementary School said it would no longer be employing the company’s services.