Students at Edmonton’s McNally High School are leading an initiative to get rid of the word “retard” in everyday language.
The national campaign called “#NoGoodWay” is also supported by Motionball, Special Olympics Canada and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
McNally students produced a video with the Edmonton police as part of the annual event.
“They aim to end the use of the R-word for Special Olympics athletes and begin to respect people’s ability over their disability,” Grade 10 student Michael DeMarco told Global News on Monday. “Here at McNally, we really feel it’s necessary to get students talking about the use of the R-word.”
“I’m an athlete with the Special Olympics… I do have a disability and so do many of my other friends,” runner Jenny Murray said.
“When I was growing up there would be people in my neighbourhood that would make fun of me and it would be hurtful.”
Police representatives also attended Monday’s video presentation at which students were asked to take a pledge not to use the term. The pledge calls on student to not just avoid using the R-word but also to educate others about the link between the word and bullying and to show their support for the “NoGoodWay campaign.
“We felt having the assembly and bringing the students in and having them just talk about the word in an open space would make them really comfortable,” DeMarco said. “For me personally, it’s a derogatory term. People don’t understand the meaning.
“I play soccer, I play volleyball and the word is thrown around too commonly and it doesn’t mean anything to the people who are using it but it really does mean something. It has a meaning to other people and so we have to consider that meaning and have to be more respectful.”