Richland High School Students Sign Pledge Against Offensive Word - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland High School Students Sign Pledge Against Offensive Word

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High school students around the area are taking a pledge to end use a word that can be offensive. Students at Richland High School are signing a pledge to end the "R-word" to show respect for their peers with developmental disabilities. High school students around the area are taking a pledge to end use a word that can be offensive. Students at Richland High School are signing a pledge to end the "R-word" to show respect for their peers with developmental disabilities.

RICHLAND, WA - High school students around the area are taking a pledge to end use a word that can be offensive. Students at Richland High School are signing a pledge to end the "R-word" to show respect for their peers with developmental disabilities. 

"I don't think people really realize how much the r-word does hurt those with special needs," Courtney Turner, Richland High School student said. 

Turner is trying to get other students to sign this pledge. 

"Nowadays, it's just slang and it's thrown around when someone's doing something stupid or something dumb. They're just like that's so.... and I think that they don't realize how they're turning that word into something that's negative," Turner said. 

What may seem like any other word can make a big impact for students like Jordeyn Pirotte. 

"I feel pretty bad when somebody uses that word around me. The r-word is really offensive to others, it really hurts their feelings," Pirotte said.

Signing this pledge is just one of many events that make up respect week. 

Earlier in the week, students took to social media to spread the word, wore red to show support and had lunch with special needs students.

Teacher Brittany Poff says she has a personal connection with people with special needs and that's why she believes in the power of this movement. 

"I want to make sure they're treated like everyone else is treated," Poff said. 

Over at the Arc of Tri-Cities, Donna Tracey works with people with disabilities every day. She says we have come a long way as a community to make everyone feel included. 

"There's words that can be said that hurt to the core and that's one of the words that hurt. And it might not hurt someone who has not been affected by it but it hurts tremendously by those who have," Tracey said. 

The Arc is inviting everyone to come out and celebrate abilities at the 8th annual March for Respect this Saturday at John Dam Plaza in Richland from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.  

To sign the pledge, click here

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