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CBS Hallmark movie about alum’s life to be shown on campus

Bradley will host a viewing party for the film “Front of the Class,” a movie depicting the life of Bradley alumnus Brad Cohen.
The event will take place Sunday at 8 p.m. in Lydia’s Lounge. Before the showing, a pre-recorded welcome from Cohen will be played and free pizza will be provided for students.
The CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is based on the book Cohen wrote, “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.”
Cohen was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome at a young age, but still dealt with constant ridicule throughout school from fellow classmates. There were several instances before his diagnosis when Cohen was forced to apologize to his class members for the tics and noises he made because of his disorder.
As a Bradley student, Cohen was kicked out of a local Peoria restaurant because of the involuntary spasms resulting from his Tourette.
Despite his disorder, Cohen was able to overcome many obstacles. He was named Sallie Mae First Class Teacher of the Year for Georgia in 1997 where he taught second grade after he graduated from Bradley.
Cohen now lives in a suburban area of Atlanta, and he said he hopes to get his message across with the airing of his movie.
He said the movie is a celebration for all of his lifelong supporters, as well as proof that Tourette Syndrome should not be viewed as a setback.
Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which unusual, unintentional movements or sounds are made that vary in frequency and severity over time.
People with this disorder may show signs of excessive eye blinking, head jerking, shoulder shrugging and barking.
An estimated one to two percent of Americans have Tourette Syndrome, and males are three to four times more likely than females to develop the disorder, according to mayoclinic.com.
Even though there is no cure, people live normal life spans, and many don’t need treatment when the symptoms are stable.
However, whether stable or not, symptoms of Tourette Syndrome are what many do not know how to react to.
“If I saw someone with Tourette [Syndrome] and didn’t know what it was I really wouldn’t know how to approach them,” freshman marketing and psychology major Jami Smith said.
She said she would be afraid to talk to a person with Tourette, because she would not want to say anything to offend or hurt an individual’s feelings.
Freshman electronic media major Lanada Cunningham said people should be more informed about Tourette Syndrome and she said thinks “Front of the Class” will aid in doing so.
“I plan on viewing the movie, if not at Lydia’s Lounge, at home,” she said. “I think he has accomplished a lot.”
Smith said she thinks his teaching is courageous.
“It seems that he doesn’t let what others say or think of him affect him,” she said.