HELENA – Respect rallies were held at multiple schools in Helena as a way to show support for a campaign started by Special Olympics.

“Spread the Word to End the Word” encourages rallies as an ongoing effort by the Montana Special Olympics to raise awareness about a hurtful term sometimes applied to those with developmental disabilities.

Capital High School had a respect rally last week at lunch were students played basketball and signed banners to take a stand to not use the “r-word”.

Capital High School Student Kyle Norman said, “Well that word is kind of hurtful.”

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Norman has Asperger’s Syndrome on the autism spectrum.

Norman added, “It’s about taking the word retard and changing it to the word respect.”

CR Anderson Middle School held a respect rally on Wednesday.

CR Anderson student Ashlee Steele was encouraged by all the signatures from her peers.

Signatures were gathered by students and teachers as a pledge to the campaign.

The national Special Olympics website said the goal is, “To continue building awareness for society to stop and think about its use of the R-word and rally people around the world to pledge respect toward all individuals, making the world a more accepting and inclusive place for all people, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Steele added, “I think it’s great that they are doing that, they are being respectful about it and it’s very good.”

For more information about the organization click here.

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