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Spreading awareness on accessibility

DDSB’s #IgniteAccessibility can be seen on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Spreading awareness about accessibility is the goal as the Durham District School Boards’ #IgniteAccessibility has hit social media.

The purpose of the board’s new campaign is to let students, families, staff, and community partners know the school board has committed to inclusive practices and education.

“The board is dedicated to providing accessible environments that support independence, dignity, and respect for everyone,” reads a press release from the school board.

During the campaign, schools will receive posters, and students will see social media posts illustrating “people first” language tips when referring to someone with a disability.

They will also see highlights from DDSB’s 2019 accessibility guide, and inspirational quotes from celebrities with disabilities.

One such quote came from Christopher Reeve, an actor famous for portraying Superman in the 1970s and 1980s.

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles,” said Reeves.

Speaking to The Oshawa Express, DDSB superintendent of education Heather Mundy says with the #IgniteAccessibilty campaign, the school board was hoping to take things a step further.

“Working with the DDSB accessibility committee, we set out to make sure we’re meeting the [Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act] regulations,” explains Mundy. “But we wanted to take it a step further, and build excitement, understanding, and to get information out into the system on the importance of accessibility.”

Lisa Bianca, senior manager of facilities services with DDSB, says the campaign is about creating awareness throughout their system, and creating equity and well-being for students, and “everybody who’s affected by accessibility.”

According to Mundy, the campaign promotes the notion accessibility is a right.

Bianca notes the campaign came about when the DDSB accessibility committee identified the board needed to reach more people and make them aware of accessibility issues.

The hope is this would help people to become advocates for accessibility.

“[We also want to] show them how they can take part and make it a more successful organization for our students, their families, staff, etc.,” explains Bianca. “So, we started thinking about this, and once we got the foundational plan together, then we thought let’s work with our partners in communications and reach out to the community.”

The campaign is set to go until the end of December, and is on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.