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Nation program targets the ‘R’-word

March 6, 2014

Deputy Samuel Blank speaks to sixth graders in the cafeteria of Wapakoneta Middle School about ending the use of the word retard, known as the ‘R’ word, as students line up to sign a pledge to not use the word. Wednesday was the national ‘Spread the Word to End the Word Day.’ (Staff photo/John Bush)

Wapakoneta Middle School students joined the national ‘End the R-word’ campaign to stop the use of the words retard and retarded on Wednesday by vowing to never use the word to describe any person or situation.

Deputy Samuel Blank, who teaches D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) classes in every middle school in Auglaize County, decided to address the issue after years of hearing it being used by students in the classroom.

“In every school I’ve taught in the past six years, I’ve heard students using that word to describe a situation, person or thing,” Blank said. “I’ve tried to make personal interventions with them, because that word is offensive to people.”

Blank eventually came across the website,, and discovered that March 5 is  known across the nation as “Spread the Word to End the Word” day. From there, he approached the middle school to see if they wanted to participate in this campaign.

“This is the first year we’re doing it, but so far I think it’s getting a good response from the schools,” he said. “I’ve had teachers come up to me and say that this is a really good idea and they’re glad I’m doing this because they’ve had problems with it in the classroom.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 6 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.

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