After months of bad health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister to JFK and Ted Kennedy, died early this morning at age 88.
Shriver was a major champion for the mentally handicapped, founding the Special Olympics in 1968 — the first event, however, was in her own backyard in 1962.
From theÂ New York Times obit:
â€œWhen the full judgment of the Kennedy legacy is made â€” including J.F.K.â€™s Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedyâ€™s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedyâ€™s efforts on health care, workplace reform and refugees â€” the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential,â€ U.S. News and World Report said in its cover story of Nov. 15, 1993.
â€œIn the 1950s, the mentally retarded were among the most scorned, isolated and neglected groups in American society,â€ Edward Shorter wrote in his book â€œThe Kennedy Family and the Story of Mental Retardation.â€ â€œMental retardation was viewed as a hopeless, shameful disease, and those afflicted with it were shunted from sight as soon as possible.â€
This was an extraordinary idea (The Special Olympics) at the time. The prevailing thought had been that mentally retarded children should be excluded from physical activity for fear that they might injure themselves. As a result, many were overweight or obese.
Yet still this shit:
More than 200,000 schoolchildren are paddled, spanked or subjected to other physical punishment each year, and disabled students get a disproportionate share of the treatment, according to a new study.
The report, based on federal Department of Education data, said that of the 223,190 public school students nationwide who were paddled during the 2006-7 school year, at least 41,972, or about 19 percent, were students with disabilities, who make up 14 percent of all students.
Among the cases cited in the report was that of a 6-year-old, first-grade boy with autism, who was paddled at his Mississippi elementary school.
An assistant principal who the report described as weighing 300 pounds â€œpicked up an inch-thick paddle and paddled himâ€ on the buttocks, the report said.
â€œIt just devastated him,â€ the report cited the boyâ€™s grandmother as saying. â€œWhen a child with autism has something like that happen, they donâ€™t forget it. Itâ€™s always fresh in their minds.â€
Sometimes there is just no winning — ‘I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is…‘