Bishop Chatard H.S. students push classmates to disavow the "r" word

INDIANAPOLIS – Students at Bishop Chatard High School are campaigning to cut a key word out of kids’ vocabulary.

It’s a word that, when used in slang (or otherwise), can be both hurtful and offensive: “retarded.”

“It slips out when people are calling people stupid or they think somebody is less than them in some type of way,” Best Buddies President Lexi Assalley said.

The Best Buddies Club is all about being friends to students with special needs. The students who are in the club say they’re sick of hearing the “r” word.

So now, they’re doing something about it: “Spread the Word to End the Word.”

This week they’re walking from one lunch table to the next asking for classmates to pledge to cut the “r” word from their vocabulary. For a dollar, students sign a pledge.

So far, 30 kids at the school have vowed to drop the word.

Last year, only 5 students signed the petition, so that’s progress.

The effort is part of a national movement that’s gotten nearly 600,000 signatures so far.

Each signature the group gets at the high school goes up on the cafeteria wall. The goal is to cover the wall with names.

As an incentive, the school has agreed if the group fills the wall with signatures, the student body will get a dress-down day. Students normally wear uniforms.

But the seniors from Best Buddies say the real bonus will be their school feeling more welcoming without the “r” word in use.


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