Olathe high school students take aim at the ‘R’ word

  “We spent a couple of weeks prior to the campaign talking about the R word and why people use it, why we shouldn’t use it and how it makes people feel,” Olathe North High School teacher Laura Warren said. “The kids were engaged and participated in great, reflective conversation. As for the school community as a whole, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a bunch of teenagers. They indeed surprised me!”


“We spent a couple of weeks prior to the campaign talking about the R word and why people use it, why we shouldn’t use it and how it makes people feel,” Olathe North High School teacher Laura Warren said. “The kids were engaged and participated in great, reflective conversation. As for the school community as a whole, I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a bunch of teenagers. They indeed surprised me!”

Students from Olathe’s high schools hope to make life a little better for their fellow students who have special education needs. They were part of the nationwide Spread the Word to End the Word effort to eliminate the words “retarded” and “retard” from people’s vocabulary.

The local effort involved high school students signing a pledge to stop using “the R word” and making videos and banners showing the many positive ways to describe individuals without using demeaning words. Students who signed the pledge received a “Spread the Word to End the Word” wristband.

“I am so amazed at what each of the high schools accomplished in hosting this event,” Director of Special Services Lanie Fasulo said. “The main purpose of participating in this event was to build student awareness about how using the R word is hurtful and dehumanizing to individuals with intellectual disabilities.” Continue reading

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