(Fair Warning: The video contains some slap-you-in-the-face language - to drive home the point - that some find inappropriate.)
This has been a pet-peeve of mine – and countless other educators, I’m sure – for years. Somehow over time a clinical term describing a real and serious condition has turned into a derogatory term that has spread throughout our culture. According to this study, 92% of kids hear the R-Word used commonly, but in most cases fewer than half of those kids will do anything about it when they hear it. Walk down the hallways of any high school or middle school, and you’ll hear the term thrown about and accepted as “normal” by kids everywhere.
It’s terrible. And it has to stop.
Thousands of like-minded folks have banded together to develop a campaign & Web site called R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word. The group has been quietly growing since 2008, and the PSA above is finally helping the movement gain national attention.
So What Can We Do About It?
- Be a role model and a leader.
- If you use the r-word in conversation now, please STOP.
- If you hear kids using the term, tell them directly and publicly that it is inappropriate, just like the other words in the video above.
- Teach kids about respecting individuals with disabilities.
- Teach them about Rosa’s Law, a federal law signed by President Obama on October 5, 2010, removing the terms “Retardation” and “Retarded” from government education, health, and labor laws.
- Encourage students to take the Pledge to End the R-Word.
- Role play what to do when kids hear others using the r-word by working through these scenarios with them.
- What to do when a family member uses the r-word.
- How to discuss the importance of taking the r-word pledge with friends.
- What do do when hearing the r-word in the media.
- What to do when hearing the r-word in person.
- Learn how to walk away and still do good.
- Follow & support the movement, and encourage kids to do so, too, on:
- Read more about what you and your kids can do with these resources.
R-word | Spread the Word to End the Word