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Parents offended by local radio ad, commercial pulled immediately

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: May 17 2013 07:18:17 PM CDT

The commercial triggered such a huge response because it uses the phrase "short bus," a derogatory term used for kids in special education programs.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

An advertisement on area radio stations has upset a large group of parents with special needs children.

The parents said the ad uses a hurtful phrase and labels their kids.

The commercial triggered such a huge response because it uses the phrase "short bus," a derogatory term used for kids in special education programs.

You may have heard it on the radio.

The commercial says, "Are you driving a wimpy truck? Do your kids take the short bus so they won't be seen in it?"

Mother of 3, Maegan Tsantis did. Her 9-year-old son, Jackson, is a special needs child.

"I felt really bad. I just didn't think it was appropriate to be using that and it actually really, really offended me," said Tsantis.

And Tsantis wasn't alone. Dozens of parents called to complain and the ad was pulled immediately.

"It totally didn't even cross our minds that this would connect with the special needs children and that's the last thing in the world that we'd ever want it to do," said Valorie Smith, marketing director.

Both Smith and Cole Chevrolet are now teaming up and helping the Special Olympics of Eastern Idaho.

"We decided to partner with the Special Olympics and we are very encouraged and excited to be a part of that," said David Service, sales manager at Cole Chevrolet.

Cole Chevrolet has made a generous donation to the cause and Smith will be creating public service announcements and commercials for the Special Olympics.

"From myself, my team, Cole Chevrolet, we just hope everyone understands it was a mistake, its been taken care of and we're definitely sorry," said Smith.

"Our parents, they obviously were upset and they let their voice be heard and I think in the end, good things came from it," said Holly Giglio, director of the Special Olympics of Eastern Idaho.

Both Cole Chevrolet and the marketing company tell me they're very sorry that something that was supposed to be light-hearted took a wrong turn.

Summer games for the Special Olympics of Eastern Idaho begin in just two weeks.

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