Spread the Word to End the R-Word

22 12 2012

r-wordI have a rule in my classroom that all of my students are familiar with. They don’t use the word “retarded.”

Every once in a while, a student will ask why it’s such a big deal. “It’s pretty simple,” I reply. “It’s a word that offends or hurts the feelings of a lot of people. You say ‘retarded’ when you mean ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’ or ‘lame,’ and special needs people know that you think they are stupid or dumb or lame. Don’t say it. Take it out of your vocabulary, because it’s demeaning to people.”

Earlier this year, a student thanked me for taking a tough stance on the “r-word.” He lived with a foster child with special needs, and knew how much it hurt to hear it, even if it wasn’t directed at anyone in particular.

I encourage everyone, especially teachers and others who work with young people to take the pledge to end the use of the word “retarded,” and to make sure that kids around them know that even words that aren’t meant to hurt can be very hurtful.

– dEV

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