When President Barack Obama quipped about his bowling game being like “the Special Olympics,” William Chrisman High School Special Olympics coach and special education teacher Kathy Meyer wasn't outraged.

But she was disappointed.

When President Barack Obama quipped about his bowling game being like “the Special Olympics,” William Chrisman High School Special Olympics coach and special education teacher Kathy Meyer wasn't outraged.
But she was disappointed.
The president's verbal slip of the tongue resulted in an immediate apology following his appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and a public call for sensitivity toward individuals with special needs.
The president's comment couldn't have been any more timely as Special Olympics is kicking off a national campaign at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday at William Chrisman High School where administrators, teachers and students will be signing individuals to take part in a national campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word.”
“Spread the Word to End the Word' is a campaign to promote awareness and get people to stop using the word 'retard' in casual conversation,” Meyer said Monday morning. “Chrisman is helping to kick this off by giving the students an opportunity to go online and pledge to not use the R-word.
“Tuesday morning, before school (6:30 a.m. to 7:20 a.m.), we will have computers set up in the front foyer for the students to make their pledges. There will be prizes and T-shirts and button and bracelet sales”
A representative from Special Olympics International will be on hand, as will Chrisman students Danny Byrom, a sophomore who is active in the Special Olympics programs, and Special Olympian Danny Crane.
“I'm so excited about Tuesday morning,” said Byrom, a sophomore, whose older brother Bobby was a member of the Bears district championship basketball team.
“I got involved in Special Olympics last year as a volunteer and met Special Olympic athletes like Danny. They have really had a big impact on my life, and I know if people will come to the school Tuesday for the 'Spread the Word to End the Word' campaign, it will have an impact on their lives, too.”
The campaign couldn't have found a better starting place than Chrisman, a school that has a heart the size of its football field.
“We have some very special students and teachers,” Chrisman activities director Dan Ogle said. “When you get young people involved in a program like 'Spread the Word to End the Word,' it makes an impact that lasts a lifetime. So when they're old and bald like I am, they know how important it is to avoid using that 'R' word.”
Meyer began working with Special Olympians and special needs students in Lebanon, Mo., in 1995 and says it has changed her life.
“I could write a book on the touching and special moments I've witnessed and been a part of,” Meyer said. “You can hear the enthusiasm in Danny Byrom's voice when he talks about the Special Olympics and the people who come to the school on Tuesday will also experience that enthusiasm.”
Byrom was so excited about Special Olympics that he and Crane took part in last year's Polar Bear Plunge, diving into Lake Jacomo this past winter as part of a money-making project for Special Olympics.
“It wasn't even cold,” Byrom said. “My adrenaline was pumping and Danny and I took the plunge and had a great time.”
I'm betting both young men will experience that same adrenaline rush, minus the frigid waters, when the dive into this national campaign.
Even if you can't attend, you can 'Spread the Word to End the Word,' by removing the 'R' word from your vocabulary and replacing it with another 'R' word, respect.