By Eric Antosh and Reed Jaworski
On March 4, 2015, Jamesville-DeWitt High School hosted the Arc of Onondaga for an awareness meeting. This meeting was set up by the J-DHS club Autism Speaks. The topic of this meeting: the ending of the R-word, and all the negative implications it has in today society. According to the Arc representatives, this word, retard, is an outdated and cruel term, which needs to be used no longer. Following this meeting, all students were invited down by the Arc board to sign a pledge saying that they would never again utter it.
“I’m not really big on these one time things (like making a pledge at a one-time event),” said 1987 Heisman Trophy runner-up and Arc representative Don McPherson. McPherson elaborated, saying that although signing a contract won’t instantly do much to stop the use of the word, “it’s a great start.” Students shared McPherson’s view, like junior Nolan Roosa, who said, “it’s something all should take into consideration.”
The meeting featured some very moving speeches from two members of the organization, Heather and Amy. Although Heather and Amy deal with this cruel and belittling word everyday, they still seem to always have a smile on their face. Their love for life and ability to overcome adversity struck a note with the students. Roosa confirmed this saying it was “good to have a larger group of people have those ideas.”
Sophomore Petey Miedaner has since seen a decline in the use of the R-word in J-DHS, noting it isn’t “commonly used anymore.”