Kennedy Joins Guilford High School Students to “End the R-Word”
Guilford students taking part in national campaign to end the use of this derogatory word for people with developmental disabilities
GUILFORD, CT—For the sixth year in a row, Guilford High School students are participating in the “End the R-Word” campaign. Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) and Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) helped kick off the campaign this morning by signing the pledge and encouraging others to do so as well.
“We need to recognize that our words have power, and when used hatefully they can really harm people,” said Senator Kennedy. “The word ‘retard’ is very hurtful and offensive to people with disabilities and those that love them. That’s why we call it the ‘R-Word.’ We need to end its use, and I am truly inspired by this incredible group of young people who took up this cause at Guilford High School.”
“Nothing makes me prouder to be a graduate of Guilford High School than walking into that building and seeing dozens of students asking their peers to pledge not to use a hateful word that was very common when I was in school not too long ago,” said Representative Sean Scanlon. “We’ve come a long way towards fostering a more accepting and inclusive environment in our schools and I’m thankful to the administrators, staff and most importantly the students for being true leaders on this issue.”
This student-led campaign encourages people to stop using this derogatory word for developmentally disabled persons. Students at schools across the country have taken part in similar campaigns, which are organized by Special Olympics and Best Buddies International. Guilford High School won the Unified Sports Michael’s Cup award for success during the first year they participated in End the R-Word.
End the R-Word is a national campaign and invites the support of anyone interested in signing the pledge. Anyone interested in adding their support can attend a live campaign, or sign the pledge at www.r-word.org. Everyone who signs the pledge is given a wristband with the message “Spread the Word to End the Word.”
Two years ago, Senator Kennedy led passage of a bill to update Connecticut’s statutes by removing the “R-Word” from them and replacing it with “developmentally disabled” and other appropriate terminology.