Don’t Bring Me Down

The Lift Up Desiree Lincoln Middle School
by Just Add Kids founder,
Paula Herrmann

The winner: The bullied

The loser: The bully

 The best thing to pass through my social media newsfeeds this week has to be the story of the 8th grade cheerleader with Down syndrome from Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, who was being bullied from the stands at a basketball game this past Monday. The heroes of this scenario are the three boy’s basketball players, or so it seems.

Here’s the link to the original Today’s TMJ4 news segment that quickly went viral:  Basketball players defend Kenosha cheerleader targeted by bully.

Doing my little investigative reporting here, you all must know, evidence of rallying behind Desiree Andrews, the cheerleader, is obvious weeks before this news story (as wonderful as it is) broke! Read more…

Not much of a journalist here, yet, I was curious to see what was going on at the school; how they were celebrating the popularity of their school’s breakout heroes and heroine.  Thank goodness for Facebook!

As reported in Tuesday’s Today’s TMJ4 news report, the school is going to officially called the gym “D’s House” dedicated to Desiree.  Yet, celebrating Desiree and the gym dedication has been the plan for several weeks (if not more)! It did not come as a result of this specific bullying issue. Note the date on the school’s Facebook post.

Lincoln Middle School

My point here is that the culture of inclusion and celebration of this classmate and student with Down syndrome isn’t and wasn’t isolated to this awesome feel good, news and viral-worthy story.

Chase, Miles, Scooter Lincoln Middle School

Again, kudos to the highlighted basketball players Miles Rodriguez, Scooter Terrien and Chase Vazquez; the initially reported heroes of the story. And even better, their humbleness and sharing of the glory given to their teammates in this follow up news report: ‘Stand up for your friends’: Athletes who defended bullied cheerleader talk lessons learned

As many have chimed in on social media, these young men’s parents need to be applauded. They must be pretty proud. As a parent, I know I would be. The parents…more heroes.

School staff have to be recognized as well. How about that Athletic Director, Timothy Nieman, who it seems had something to do with the renaming of the gym. Not to mention, the Lady Knights Cheerleading Squad’s coach(es) and the other cheerleaders.

This is a HUGE story about inclusion before all of the stardom. The probably very regretful kid or kids that took the wrong route to call out Desiree for her differences are being stood up against with their unwelcomed bullying. The shift to see the majority of us (I hope) now refer to disabilities as uniqueness; and the embracing and inclusion of those with disabilities, is refreshing.

You Rah Rah Lincoln Middle School!

On a related note: World Down Syndrome Day 2015, is coming Saturday, March 21, 2015  Please celebrate by keeping this local, now international, feel good story alive on your social media platforms.  It hits several very important topics and words that are #hashtag worthy: #downsyndrome #WDSD15 #lotsofsocks #DsHouse #StopBullying

What does Lots Of Socks mean? Down Syndrome International invites everyone across the world to wear LOTS OF SOCKS on the 21st of  March 2015 to raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). Get people talking about WDSD by wearing socks…BUT NOT JUST ANY SOCKS…brightly colored socks, mismatched socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock…maybe even 3 socks (or EXTRA socks) for 3 chromosomes. Or if you don’t normally  wear socks, the wear them this one day. Just so long as they are socks which people will ask you about. I’m in. You?

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