Mrs. Sugars Opportunity Class

At Betsy Ross Elementary School, they had a class that they called the ‘Opportunity’ class. It was basically a holding pen for kids who for whatever reason weren’t capable of learning in a normal manner. Back then the term they used for those type of kids was ‘retarded’…which is definitely not politically correct today. I remember walking by the classroom, glancing in, and seeing a bunch of blank stares on the faces of some of the kids in there. I wonder now what a teacher would be able to do for six hours or so to keep them occupied, and just what they were capable of learning? What could hold the interest of that group(and I knew most of them)for more than a few minutes at a time? And they didn’t dispense Ritalin back then either to keep them zombified. There was also a school down at Ashton Street and Pulaski that they use to call ‘Dummies Paradise’ 98A. Don’t know how it got that name, but it kind of makes the Opportunity class sound downright literate in comparison. I know that many of us didn’t want to venture down that way when we were younger because that’s where the ‘real’ tough kids lived. Anyway, funny how even back then they used euphemisms in defining something that was anything but what the name implied.

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