Think before you Speak

Courtesy of Best Buddies

Student-made poster promoting the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

Shelly Schick

Student-made poster promoting the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign.

Shelly Schick, Staff Writer

Best Buddies at LHS, along with many other schools around the country, are on a mission to educate people on the harmful effects when using the ‘R’ word in a demeaning way with their campaign called “Spread the Word to End the Word.”

According to three year best buddies member senior Kaitlyn Kousins, this is a nationwide campaign that “[tries] to spread the awareness of the hurtful and offensive effects of the word ‘retarded’ and ‘retard.’ [It also tries] to get people to realize why it is so hurtful and eliminate it from their vocabulary.”

The word “retarded” is defined by google as a “delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment.” But people these days have put a negative connotation with the word. They now use it as a derogatory word to describe people that are mentally disabled.

When asked what she does when she hears someone use the ‘R’ word in a negative way, Kousins said she responds to the person by saying, “you know it’s really not retarded, that’s just a little crazy, but it’s not retarded.”

People don’t realize how much it can actually offend a person when they use the ‘R’ word. Senior Anthony Paglia also described how it does not just offend people with disabilities, but it offends people without disabilities also.

“It discourages me as a person because I feel that words can hurt people very much and to use that sort of wording in a jokingly manner goes to show that you don’t really have value for other individuals as human beings,” Paglia said.

Senior Erica Mitten also agrees that people really need to think about the words that come out of their mouths before they say them.

“I think it is really offensive to people so when you say it so carelessly, it can really hurt some people and they don’t know it hurts people so they just like toss it around,” she said.

Senior Austin Josenhans, who is a student in integrated PE, feels hurt and upset when he hears people say the ‘R’ word. He thinks that people shouldn’t use that word.

“When people say the ‘R’ word, I feel disappointed. Try to not say it,” Josenhans said.

Some members from Best Buddies and CAT TV worked together to make a video promoting the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign (at top of page). Best Buddies is also tie dying shirts promoting this campaign on Thursday, March 13 in the cafeteria. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come!