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Published March 06, 2012, 04:51 PM

Students Take Part in 'Spread the Word to End the Word' Campaign in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Students are doing their part to stop use of a word many find offensive.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Students are doing their part to stop use of a word many find offensive.

As a part of the national campaign "Spread The Word to End The 'R' Word" students and faculty in the Grand Forks school district hope to make a difference and stop the usage of the word retard.

Both South and Valley Middle Schools made videos to help end the word.

"It's really rude to make fun of people with mental disabilities and we're trying to stop that," 8th Grader Katrina Kennedy said.

Students painted posters and handed out t-shirts, bracelets and pins.

All in an effort to Spread The Word To End The "R" Word.

"We're not just like avoiding it, pretending it doesn't happen. We know it's happening and we're trying to stop it," Kennedy said.

The national campaign to stop the use of the word retard or retarded has local schools holding events throughout the week to bring about education and awareness.

"Today we're doing sock it to the word where we wear crazy socks, tomorrow we'll be doing white out the word where we wear all white," 13-year-old Jessica Porter said.

"This week is very personal to me because my sister has down syndrome. I just think a lot of people that use it don't really realize what they are saying and how it hurts people," Special Education Teacher Kristin O'Connor said.

Little by little, both students and faculty hope their efforts will pay off, bringing more respect into the hallways and classrooms of every school.

"It has been a problem, it continues to be a problem. We're just again hoping that our students will not only become more aware but remind their parents to be more respectful," Grand Forks School District Director of Special Education Tori Johnson said.

"I think it's important to know that people with disabilities are allowed to feel special and have other people not be insensitive to them," Porter said.

Four years ago the campaign started with a couple schools locally and now it has turned into nearly the whole district.