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Salem High School participates in International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Students and staff gathered in the hallway of Salem High to strike a pose and stare. It's all to raise awareness for how it feels to live with a disability.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

So, students and staff at Salem High School in Virginia Beach brought awareness to the day by participating in a unique hallway art exhibit.

It’s a unique exhibit, full of silence and stares. The creator, Heidi Latsky calls it ON DISPLAY. She came up with the idea where performers hold a pose and the audience can watch or join in.

The concept is to "take back the stare" many people with disabilities feel every day, in the community.

From teachers to students, anyone who’s able-bodied or disabled joined in the hallway art.

Salem High School Junior Rosie Nelson participated in the performance at school and the Chrysler Museum, in October.

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Nelson said that holding the pose is a little bit uncomfortable sometimes, but she has to just keep the face on.

She feels like she’s gained a better understanding of what it might feel like at times to be stared at. Also, she likes how they’re using an art form to learn that movement is for everyone.

Teacher Katie Flint said this form of art empowers the audience as much as the dancers.

“This is their chance to really see that we can all really live in this world together and perform together,” said Flint. “Every person, able to or disabled, to be able to feel like they are performing means the world to me.”

ON DISPLAY, is a metaphor for societies’ obsession, with body image and that all bodies are a work of art.

Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said that message also shares the same values that every student matters.

Dr. Spence said, “that means being inclusive and bringing all students together and what a perfect example of that that we're seeing here today at Salem.”

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