I am offended by the term being bandied about carelessly on this thread. 
  Not so much because I'm Politically Correct (usually, I am not), but 
when I was in first grade my teacher and the school principal tried to 
coax my paternal grandmother (who was my legal guardian) to put me into 
a hospital for the "retarded" even though I was only having to deal with 
what is now commonly referred to as a math-related learning disability. 
  I read several grade levels above my peers, but I was stymied by 
mathematics since, truth be told, my first year of school WAS first grade.

What bothers me the most is the attitude that somehow those who have 
developmental disabilities are considered as less than human (as is 
advocated by eugenicists) and therefore it's okay to do whatever you 
like to them.  I am convinced that the majority of children who are 
sexually abused are developmentally disabled because they are considered 
as "fair game" by those who think of them as lesser beings, which they 
most certainly are not.

I would go so far to say that they can teach us a lot about living in 
the moment, which to my understanding is a key attribute of Zen.  So 
they are very much sentient beings, thank you very much.  Not only that, 
but they are the essence of what we wish we could find in our 
overcomplicated minds, but which has eluded us for too long.

Cynth

cid830 wrote:
> 
> 
> I am in no position to proclaim Sentient Beings. But I do worry for
> the safety of these children while they are unsupervised. Not to
> mention the morality of taking money and abdicating your responsiblity.
> 


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