Safe Families

Mar 6, 2013 6:53 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Ending the R-Word

Awareness of an offensive word gained national attention today. The campaign is called "Spread the word to end the word," and it focuses on the hurtful use of the "R-word."

One by one, students at Park Vista Elementary lined up, armed with markers, and got ready to take a stand and pledge to not use the R-word.

"The word we're talking about is retard or retarded. We're asking students, faculty to stop the word," Brandi Harmon a member of St. Landry Abilities said.

Signing the "Spread the word to end the word" banner is a step toward that goal. It means a lot to Brandi Harmon whose 5-year-old daughter has down syndrome.

"The word retard or retarded started out as a medical term. But over the years it's turned into a very ugly word. People often use it in every day speech to mean, stupid, silly, ridiculous," Harmon said.

"Being a parent of a child with special needs, I'm extra sensitive to the use of that word...So i'm having to look out for him there," Kem Dwyer said.

The "Spread the word to end the word" banner gathered over a hundred signatures at Park Vista Elementary. Five additional schools in St. Landry Parish also participated with the hopes of spreading the word to end the word even more.

"We all are different and I don't think you should make fun of somebody cause they have a disability cause you never know what could happen. You could get in a wreck, and you could have a disability," Park Visa student Antonio Quiroz said.

"I hope this entire campaign will stop this word from going around. It's not that right," Park Vista student Nigel Jason said.

Efforts to end the word begin with one signature at a time.



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