GUILFORD -- On Wednesday Guilford High School for the 6th year, participated in the national campaign "End the R-Word" by asking students and staff to sign a pledge before school and during lunch promising not to use the word "retard(ed)."
A campaign for students by students got the support of State Representative Sean Scanlon and State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr.
“We call it the R word because the word retarded is hurtful to people with disabilities and those that love them,” said State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr.
Students signed a pledge to no longer speak it.
The pledge reads:
I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the word “retard(ed)” from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.
“As a bone cancer survivor, I lost my leg at 12 years old and that really prompted me to get involved in my life's work which is a civil rights advocate for people with disabilities,” said Kennedy.
“Obviously we can't get to everyone, but the people that do see this they probably should stop if they can. It's not that hard thing to do just to stop saying one word,” said Guilford High senior, Rowen Page
Page an active member of the school`s Unified Sports Program, pairing him up with a student with disabilities for after school sports. They have made a friendship and have an understanding into just how deeply the “R” word can really cut.
“I know how much hearing that word hurts them, so it`s more personal when you see... to see someone say that word I know it hurts my friends,” said Page.
Page’s hope when his friends are outside this school community, the only “R” word that comes to mind is respect.