Teacher Carries Student With Spina Bifida On His Back So She Doesn’t Miss School Field Trip

An upcoming class hiking trip wasn’t going to be accessible for 10-year-old Ryan, who uses a wheelchair. Then he just stepped right in.

A fourth-grade teacher in Kentucky went above and beyond to make sure a 10-year-old student with spina bifida could be included on a recent field trip.

Ryan Neighbors’ class at Tully Elementary School was planning a hike at Falls of the Ohio State Park, but since the site isn’t wheelchair accessible, her mother, Shelly King, tried to find a way to make sure her daughter could participate.

Ryan had missed out on a similar class trip last year as a third grader.


When Shelly King learned that her daughter Ryan was having a class field trip on Sept. 20 to the Falls of the Ohio State Park near the border of Indiana and Kentucky, she instantly began to think about creating a plan B.

“I was preparing for an ‘alternate field trip day,’” King wrote on the “Team Ryan” Facebook page, created for her 10-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with Spina bifida as a baby.

That is, until, Jim Freeman, a teacher at the school, offered to carry Ryan around on his back all day so she could explore the fossil beds with the rest of her classmates.


The gesture meant so much to Ryan and her family that King wanted to get the message out. She said after all that Kentucky teachers have been through recently, she wanted them to know they are supported and loved.

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