The Power of Inclusion — Chy’s Story is a Must-Read

The following post comes from Liz Johnson, the mother of a Special Olympics athlete.

My name is Liz Johnson and I have a daughter with special needs that was bullied her sophomore year in high school. We started to see a difference in Chy the 1st week of school but, I had chalked it up to her being tired and trying to get back into the swing of things. Later, I would realize that was not the case at all.

She smiled all the time but lately I noticed she was crying, angry and very moody. One day she came home from school and tried hiding — in her closet, under her bed and behind our door. I told my husband that something was very wrong.

We tried talking to Chy but she wouldn’t open up to us. I decided to call a close friend, Tammy, who happened to be a Special Education (SPED) teacher. She came over to the house that night and climbed in the closet with Chy. After about an hour in the closet, they came out and Tammy had tears in her eyes. It was then that we learned that Chy was being bullied.

Chy opened up to us and said that kids were throwing trash at her and calling her names, like the “R” word. My heart dropped. I have never felt so hurt in my life. How could anyone do this to Chy? She was a happy-go-lucky girl, who loved everyone.

In the days that followed, I took the proper steps through the school to try to get help. After getting no where, I reached out to Carson Jones, the starting quarterback on the school’s football team. I didn’t know what else to do — I asked him if he could help me find out who was doing this to Chy…I actually asked him to get me some names.

Carson went a step farther though and talked to some of the football players. The next day, one of Carson’s teammates, Tucker Workman, found Chy sitting in a corner, where all the SPED students were suppose to eat. He went up to her and invited her to come eat lunch with them. But it didn’t stop there. They all took turns walking her to and from her classes and she ate lunch with them every single day after that.

Chy went to every single football game that season to show her support to the team on the field, for all that they were doing for her off the field. That season, the team went undefeated for the 1st time in the schools’ history and they went on to win the State Football Championship! That was something they had never done. To this day, the football team has not been undefeated nor have they won another state championship.

My husband and I will be forever grateful for what these young man did for our daughter. Even to this day, long after graduation, they are all still very close. Chy has attended all of their weddings and was even a bridesmaid in one of them. Had it not been for these boys, I don’t know what would’ve happened to Chy. We were told by the school district that they would be putting into place a zero tolerance policy for bullying — Four years later, that still hasn’t happened.

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