LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. — Connerton Elementary School in Land O’ Lakes is known for its warm, inclusive environment.
The “Best Buddies” system pairs basic education students and kids with disabilities. The school's gym class features kids of all physical and intellectual levels having fun on the dodgeball court.
The Pasco County school took another great leap in the inclusivity movement with “Spread the Word to End the Word,” a program to eliminate hurtful language when talking about people with disabilities.
More and more educators on both sides of the Tampa Bay area are incorporating kindness and acceptance in their curriculums. This is another positive step forward.
“Our whole campus, over 950 kids and all of our staff, are pledging to stop using ‘the R word,’” says PE teacher Jean Howey, a major leader in the inclusivity movement. “The only ‘R word” used should be respect.”
Howey said Connerton’s blending of all walks of life, in the classroom and out of it, makes for healthier happier kids.
“It doesn’t matter whether you look different or talk different or walk different,” she says, “we’re all the same.”
For more information on Spread the Word to End the Word, visit: www.r-word.org .