Students rally for inclusive language - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students rally for inclusive language

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Western Dubuque High School students organized a "Spread the Word to End the Word" rally Wednesday Western Dubuque High School students organized a "Spread the Word to End the Word" rally Wednesday

EPWORTH (KWWL) -- Western Dubuque High School students rallied Wednesday to end the "r" word.

This is part of an international movement called "Spread the Word to End the Word," which started in 2009 to end the use of the word "retard(ed)," which many find offensive and derogatory.

In fact, the Iowa House passed a resolution Wednesday, declaring March 2, 2011 "Spread the Word to End the Word" awareness day.

Students with and without intellectual disabilities, including Western Dubuque High School's four Special Olympics athletes, talked about the harm the r-word can cause.

"It's a really big problem, and we don't really like that. It really hurts our feelings," Special Olympian Shelby Heiderscheit said.

Her buddy through the high school's partners program is Hillary Atkinson. She said, "I think telling everybody about it will really stop the use of the r-word, and by doing a pep rally, that will help a lot."

Student organizers challenged their peers to go online and pledge to stop using the r-word at http://r-word.org/

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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