Teacher helps injured student fit in

Kindergartner was scared to return to class after eye injury

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A small gesture from a kindergarten teacher at Callahan Elementary School made a world of difference for one of her students.

Six-year-old Brantley Rogers severely injured his eye last week and was nervous about returning to class with an eye patch.

Brantley's mom said he was playing with his step brother outside when a stick he had snapped in half and ended up poking him in the eye, causing an extreme corneal laceration.
But his teacher taught the class to embrace Brantley in a special way.

Brantley has to wear an eye patch for at least three months. His classmates are by his side and Brantley's teacher, Mrs. Brown, made eye patches for the class to wear the day Brantley returned.

This week Brown's kindergarten class at Callahan Elementary is eager to learn, but all wearing eye patches.

They're learning more than just how to read with only one eye though -- a life lesson not many 6-year-olds, let alone adults, have down.

"We start the beginning of the year talking about we're all different," Brown said. "We all have differences. Different things we like and that we should accept people for that all the time."

Brantley's seat was empty for a week, his kindergarten classmates questioning why he was gone.  

Little did Brantley's friends know, he was also concerned.

"He was just worried what the kids were going to think about him," Brantley's mom Candy said. "He was just like mom I just want to be normal. What if they make fun of me? Can I just take it off while I'm in class?"

Those worries were quickly eased as Mrs. Brown arranged for the class to wear eye patches, just like Brantley, on his first day back.

"If they're not comfortable in our learning environment then everything I say or try to teach them is not going to do them any good," Brown said.

Brantley's mom said the feeling he got when seeing all of his classmates were on his side was special and far reaching.

"I think we get mixed up in the rush of everyday life and sometimes people just tend to forget the little things that really, really matter," Candy said. "I just felt like she went above and beyond just to make him, one little child. To me he's the world but to everybody else he's a six-year-old and it made me feel so special."

Brantley has stitches in his eye and will have to have another surgery in three months to remove them. He will have to wear an eye patch until then.

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