By: Jim Cline
WESTFIELD, Mass (abc40)– There was an assembly at Westfield Voke on Wednesday. March 3rd was the Day of Awareness, and students bought T-shirts to support the effort. They’re getting the word out. Using the r-word, that is, retard or retarded, is derogatory. “It does get used quite often,” says Heather White of the Special Olympics. “What we’re finding is people use it without even thinking. They no longer realize that it is a hurtful word to say because they’re using it in replace of words like stupid or helpless, so you’re describing people with intellectual disabilities as hopeless or stupid. So a lot of times very caring thoughtful people use it without realizing the implications.
Hundreds of school systems around the country held assembly’s Wednesday to create an awareness. White says the T-shirts that students and faculty were wearing to promote the event were also a fundraiser. They raised about 23 hundred dollars for local Special Olympics programs.