Banning The ‘R’ Word: UP. for Life Program to host event during lunch periods on March 5 and 6

Banning The R Word: UP. for Life Program to host event during lunch periods on March 5 and 6

Walking through the hallways of this school, students and staff are bound to hear profanity being spoken in the hallway.

The most popular include the f-word, a word that some creatively incorporate into everyday language as if it were an art form.

However, the ‘R’ word may be a word that students do not realize they even say, or the implications it can have on others. They may not know how hurtful the ‘R’ word can be. The use of this word is insensitive and malicious to those diagnosed with mental disabilities.

Next week, On March 5th and 6th, the UP. For Life Program  will be hosting an event to spread the word to end the word. During all lunch periods students can sign a pledge to ban the ‘R’ word. Students who sign the pledge will receive a wrist band, which can be used for discounts at select locations in town.

The UP. For Life program was integrated into Hammonton High School over ten years ago, lead by Mr. AJ Barchetto.  It stands for Utilizing Potential For Life. This program helps students with various mental disabilities to become successful during and after high school. Marcy McAnny is the job coach for these students, and she helps these students with getting jobs after school.

Special education teacher Mrs. Maggie Inemer has been working with the UP. For Life Program for several years. She explained how much she loves her job and how every day is exciting for her.

“Every day is an adventure you never know what’s going to happen. Every day I become more aware of people with disabilities.” she said.

The message that Inemer, who is helping to organize this event, and the UP. For Life program is trying to convey is that everyone should be treated equally, and that everyone is unique and special.

“When we use the word, we think that it is funny but it is really derogatory. Everyone deserves to be treated equally. Don’t point or laugh at people in public because everyone is special in their own way,” she said.

While many students admit to using the word, people have become more aware of powerful the word is. Senior Liz Pantalone expressed that events like these really help with raising awareness.

“The word does slip out, but over time I have learned how offensive the word can be. Event like ‘Spread the Word to End the Word,’ really make the student body more aware of how hurtful the word is,” Pantalone said.

Others students agree that the word is inappropriate in high school because teenage students should know how wrong it is.

Senior Lori Campbell expressed her disapproval of the word.

“The us of this word is incredibly ignorant,” Campbell said. “There are so many other words that people can use to insult people that don’t involve degrading an entire group of people.”

Freshman Daysarah Negroni says that the people who use the word make themselves look bad.

“It bothers me because the word is judgmental and it is really hurtful to people who have been diagnosed with a mental disability,” she explained. “People who use it are usually immature and ignorant.”

Students can unite to sign the pledge this week in lunch. Many local businesses, including Casciano’s, JoJo’s Froyo, Serenity Spa, Bella Boutique and Sassy Sweets in Hammonton, will offer discounts to students who participated.