ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The University of Missouri St. Louis is just one of hundreds of schools around the world pushing people to “Spread the Word to End the Word”—a day focused on getting rid of the “R-word.”
More than 70 schools across Missouri are taking the pledge.
Today is a day dedicated to the cause of using respectful language when talking about people with intellectual disabilities.
UMSL professor April Regester says “retard” or “retarded” were clinical terms once, but aren’t used in the medical world anymore.
“In particular houses, the term is used more socially, and not necessarily talking about a person with a disability but just used as a synonym for being dumb or stupid,” she says.
She says the campaign has had some success ousting the word from the vocabularies of the younger generations, but it’s those kid’s parents who will have the hardest time changing their language.
“Children understand the basic premise of why this could be a hurtful word,” she says. “They understand the ideas around using respectful language.”
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