LIFE

Firefighter With Down Syndrome Quits After Relentless Bullying, Then His Family Steps In

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Jason Eagan, 33, has been a firefighter since 2016. The Sandoval, Illinois, man also has Down syndrome.

Unfortunately, several other firefighters in the department reportedly relentlessly bullied Jason — and a few months ago, he had to quit.

Jason’s sister, Kristin, shared the sad news on Facebook on February 7. She said that other firefighters called Jason offensive names and removed him from the emergency paging system.

“My brother, Jason Eagan, has Down syndrome and became a fire fighter in Sandoval, IL,” Kristin wrote. “He responded to every single call and it has come to my knowledge he quit a few months back due to harassment from a fellow fireman.

It disappoints and angers me that this was allowed and that a grown man bullied a fellow fireman simply because he’s different. I’m beyond pissed off!! Be thankful I live 400 miles away because I would take action on your sorry behind! My brother is an incredible person with an amazing drive and heart. You should be ashamed of yourself. I love you, Jasey!!! Keep your head up.” Kristin also revealed that several members of the department referred to Jason using a derogatory slur.

Kristin’s post gained a lot of attention, and soon people were flooding the fire department to insist that they welcome Jason back. Not everyone in the department bullied Jason — only a cruel few.

Thankfully, Jason’s family stepping in to support him led to immediate action from the fire department. Check out the video to see how the issue was resolved and how those involved will be held responsible.

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