Inclusion Starts Early

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Lewis E. Rowe Elementary School in East Las Vegas hosted a Disability Awareness Assembly for students in partnership with Special Olympics Nevada last Tuesday.

Students gathered to discuss spreading respect and treating others with acceptance and inclusion, and how to stop saying words that hurt each other’s feelings. The assembly qualified Rowe Elementary to become a Special Olympics Champion School, as a banner was presented to the school from Special Olympics. Champion Schools complete three levels of activation, including participating in Unified Sports or the Young Athletes Program; encouraging volunteering or hosting volunteer events at the school; and Whole-School Involvement activities, including assemblies and other all-encompassing events.

Along with the assembly, the young students were asked to write personal essays on why it is important to treat others with respect and how they would make an individual with a disability feel accepted. Several students read their essays in front of the assembly. Highlights from the essays, adjusted for spelling, included:

“Accept people as they are. If you are a good person you would accept people as they are and by doing that you would make someone’s day. By making someone’s day, that would make them feel special.”

  • Alan, 2nd Grade

“We all have to be respectful, friendly, caring, kind, helpful and tolerant of people who are different or have a disability. We are all special in our own ways, even if you are different, that’s OK because we are all different but we’re all humans.”

  • Stephanie, 3rd Grade

“Have you ever known someone with a disability? Well, I have. My cousin has a disability. I make him laugh by playing with him. When he can’t reach something, I get it for him. In conclusion, people like my cousin are just like you and me, and let’s treat them like we treat each other.”

  • Ian, 3rd Grade

“It is very important to respect others because if you want to be treated nicely, you should treat others nicely so you will get respect back.”

  • Asia, 5th Grade

“I would make a person with a disability feel accepted by letting them participate in any activities. I would help them with something if they do not understand. I would try to make them my friend.”

  • Adrian, 5th Grade

“Think about it, if you had a disability you wouldn’t want to be made fun of, so why would anyone else look forward to it? I bet you $1 million that you’ll get more friends and less enemies if you show respect to everybody.”

  • Janessa, 5th Grade

The Special Olympics Nevada Schools Partnership Program is a unique education program in K-12 schools that unifies students with and without disabilities through sports and Whole-School Involvement activities. These programs provide students with the knowledge, experience, and skills necessary to create and sustain school communities that promote inclusion, acceptance, and respect for all students.

Are you a teacher, or know someone who may be interested in creating a more inclusive environment in their school? Email schools@sonv.org or visit https://www.sonv.org/programs/schools-partnership-program for more information.

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