The video « Being different, it’s normal » could never have been made, or have met with such success (over 250000 viewers), without the precious help of the Stanislas high school and college of Paris. The school indeed allowed the video to be filmed inside the school grounds.
Stan has specialized classes for disabled people (ULIS) and the principal did not think twice before he agreed to this project which falls in line with the project set by the ULIS classes.
Interview with Daniel Chapellier, the principal.
Why did you agree for the video « Being different, it’s normal » to be filmed in your school ?
The right question is, why wouldn’t I have agreed? It is so nice to witness these kid’s fulfillment. I always say to the 3400 pupils in the school: “Helping a student with a small difference is a great thing”. On an educational level, it is a great project and is at the center of our school policy. The video “BEING DIFFERENT, IT’S NORMAL” is very good. In Stan, a lot of children end up studying in polytechnic schools after having been to a preparatory school. But I often say: “these results find their importance thanks to the students living with disabilities, because they are the ones who make progress significant”. Helping these students to integrate is one of our goals, and it brings only joy. We put in a lot of effort and need to be very generous. It is not always an easy thing and we must give our best, but it really is wonderful to give them a chance!
Why did you open « ULIS » classes at Stan?
18 years ago, there was already a class at Stan, solely composed of autistic children. It had a very good teacher but was somewhat left to one side, a bit isolated. One day, some parents came to see me wanting to put all their children in Stan. All, except for one. I asked them why. They said their other child had Down Syndrome. At that point, the diocesan authorities for Catholic schools made a call for applications in several schools in order to open a class for children with disabilities. That is how the second class was opened in Stan. Finally, we opened a third class in the high school for a year, which remained independent. When I realized good things were being achieved in that class, I asked for it to be directly attached to the school through a contract. An inspector came over, he too saw that extraordinary things were going on, and he gave us the necessary authorizations. The teachers offered original and inventive pedagogy, and it works very well.
So, we currently have three ULIS classes: 2 in high school, and 1 in college; ULIS classes are usually in technical or vocational high schools: theory is taught alongside the practical work of various professions, such as carpentry. Stan works in collaboration with technical or vocational high schools: Carcado-Saisseval (boulevard Raspail), Saint Nicolas (rue de Vaugirard), Albert II (rue Olivet), and sometimes with Sainte Jeanne Elisabeth. We deliver the theoretical side of education, and our students receive their practical training from other high schools.
What is the place given to these children living with disabilities at Stan?
At Stan, we are very fond of these children. They are in the heart of our educational project. I believe that our students living with Down Syndrome make more progress than our other students. The progress they make is much more visible. I can give you the example of François, one of our children living with Down Syndrome; he is always smiling, self-confident and radiant! In the morning, when I stand at the school’s front door, he tries to catch my eye, he is proud of himself. At Stan, the way we see things is: “Buddy, if life has made you lucky, then your talent should serve those in need”, and that is why our children living with disabilities are most welcome!