Firefighter with Down syndrome quits after colleagues 'called him a retard'


A woman claims her brother quit the fire department because he was bullied for having Down syndrome. 

Kristin Sian wrote on Facebook last week her brother Jason Eagan, 33, a volunteer firefighter in the US state of Illinois, quit because he was being bullied. 

“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,” she wrote.  

“It disappoints and angers me that this was allowed and that a grown man bullied a fellow fireman simply because he’s different.”

The family of Jason Eagan, a volunteer firefighter, claim he’s been bullied by the fire department leading to him quitting. Source: Facebook/ Kristin Sian

Mr Eagan has been a volunteer firefighter at the Sandoval station since 2016, Fox 17 reported.

Ms Sian added she’s “beyond pissed off” in learning about her brother’s treatment.

“My brother is an incredible person with an amazing drive and heart,” she wrote. 

“You should be ashamed of yourself.” 

Ms Sian included photos of Mr Eagan on the job.

Mr Eagan’s sister and aunt claim he’s been called a retard. Source: Facebook/ Kristin Sian

She later added a few members of the fire department had referred to her brother “as a retard”. 

Her post has since been shared more than 1900 times with many angered over Mr Eagan’s treatment. 

“How can we teach our kids bullying is bad and wrong when now it’s the adults doing it?” one woman wrote.  

“I hope they get fired and put out to dry.”

Another added the bullies “really disgust her”.

The 33-year-old has been volunteering at the department since 2016. He’s pictured here in 2017. Source: Facebook/ Jason Eagan

His aunt Mary Kay Eagan-Robbins told the Benneville News-Democrat the harassment started last year and added the 33-year-old was deleted from the paging system which alerts firefighters to emergency calls.

Ms Eagan-Robbins added she only learned he was quitting when she noticed her nephew leaving the house to return his equipment. 

However, Ms Eagan-Robbins said some firefighters from the station had been in touch after he quit. 

“Hearing that people on that department called my nephew a f***ing retard is not OK,” she wrote on Facebook.

“My brother is an incredible person with an amazing drive and heart,” the firefighter’s sister wrote about her brother.

On Saturday, Mr Eagan and his family spoke with the fire department whose staff offered an apology in person. 

Ms Sian said her brother won’t be reporting back though until the family is satisfied Mr Eagan won’t be bullied again.

Four firefighters have reportedly resigned over the bullying allegations.

Another meeting between the family and the fire department is set for Tuesday night.

In Sydney, a McDonald’s worker with Down syndrome retired in December after more than 30 years working at the restaurant.

Since 1987, Russell O’Grady has been diligently walking to work at the Northmead McDonald’s, in Sydney’s west, three days a week to greet customers and keep the store looking its best.