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Special Olympics Response to R-word use and defence by Chilliwack School District Trustees

Chilliwack/Vancouver – Special Olympics BC has responded to this past weekend’s use of the R-word by two Chilliwack School Trustees and they did not mask their displeasure.

It was very painful to see two Chilliwack School District Trustees make and defend a hurtful use of the R-word last week. In this day and age, this word is widely recognized as hurtful and dehumanizing to people with intellectual disabilities and their many friends and loved ones. 

To quote Special Olympics BC – Langley athlete Christian Burton: “The words we use can be very powerful and hurtful and cause a person to feel very badly about themselves. The R-word is one of the words that is very hurtful toward others. Even if it is not intended to hurt and is only used as slang or to make fun of a friend, it still hurts anyone who has an intellectual difference who may be listening. Using the word is never acceptable and we need to educate people to stop. Just Stop! We always want to be kind with our words as well as our actions.”

This is an opportunity for the Chilliwack School District to follow the inspiring example of their alumna Megan Owens, a recent graduate of their district and a true champion of inclusion who has led empowering Spread the Word>>Inclusion and Inclusion Revolution Sports events in Chilliwack schools, opening many hearts and minds to the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities and the importance of ending use of the R-word. 

We call on all Chilliwack School District Trustees to make a public commitment to inclusion of all students by taking the Inclusion Revolution pledge, as well as sharing education district-wide that fosters respect and inclusion for all people with intellectual disabilities, and ends the hurtful use of the R-word.

In hopes of seeing everyone come together to share education and a spirit of respect and inclusion for all, we are posting this statement on social media and we emailed it to all the Chilliwack School District Board of Education Members. Trustee David Swankey has kindly responded that he had already taken the pledge, and welcomes any opportunity to support the campaign further.

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