Throughout the month of March, students at more than 85 Missouri schools, including Washington High School, will participate in the fifth annual Spread the Word to End the Word Awareness Day, aimed at ending the hurtful use of the R-word, “retard(ed),” negatively impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Other schools participating are Cuba High School, Hermann High School and Sullivan High School.

Special Olympics and Best Buddies encourage people all over the world to pledge to use respectful language at and build communities of respect and inclusion for all people.

The conversation about the R-word most recently garnered national attention in October 2012 when Special Olympics Virginia athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens shared an open letter reacting to the use of the R-word, which generated an array of media coverage and conversation about the use of R-word in society.

Spread the Word to End the Word is an on-going, year-round effort, created by students with and without IDD in 2009.

More than 85 schools and thousands of students around Missouri will participate in Spread the World to End the Word Day March 28 to help eliminate hurtful language in schools to create more tolerant and accepting school climates.

About Special Olympics Missouri

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 16,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state.

Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.