Spread the Word to End the Word - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Spread the Word to End the Word

Dubuque (KWWL) -- Students at Western Dubuque High School gathered Friday afternoon for a pep rally with a purpose, to encourage people nationwide to pledge to stop using the derrogatory word "retard", also known as the "R" word.

As the three special olymics athletes ran into the gym for the pep rally, hundreds of students gathered to rally for them.

Amber McDermott, one of the student organizers of the event, explains the athletes eagerness, "They wanna do the same things we do they wanna play sports or be an actress or a singer they love that stuff, they love the same things we love."

However, students are standing up for more than just the athletes, they are standing up for what people call them.

Special Education teacher Laurie Fallon believes it is small change that will make a big difference, "We're trying to get students here to stop using the word retarded just in everyday language. It's about a test, it's about a friend, it's about something that happened at home that was retarded."

It is all part of "Spread the Word to End the Word," a Nationwide campaign to stop the use of the "R" word. 

"They don't realize a lot of them say how much that hurts people who do have mental disabilities. They take that personally even if its not generally towards them," said Fallon.

The rally was organized by students who mentor also mentor in special education classes.

Fallon tries to explain the big picture to her students, "I told them this isn't about you, it's about what you believe and how you can go out and let the world know and that when you feel passionate about something and you believe in something so much you need to get it out and tell the world."

The students at Western Dubuque High School are telling the world, one pledge at a time. 

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires


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