Mena High School senior Drew Plunkett knew he wanted to do something before he graduated to honor is little brother Jake, who suffers from low-functioning Autism. Plunkett, along with his classmates Brooke Hines, Keely Jones, Justin Godfrey, and Marley Jones are holding R-Word rally’s at each of the Mena School buildings to spread the word to stop using the word retarded.
Plunkett said, “the word retarded is almost never used in its proper context in our society. It is used as an insult and is demeaning to those who appear different than us. We really have no idea the struggles of the developmentally disabled and bullying them by using the R-Word only makes it worse.
The R-Word campaign is a program of Project Unify and Special Olympics that seeks to encourage inclusion for all members of society, regardless of their disability. Plunkett went on to say that “these folks are doing the best they can to fit in and the last thing we need to do is to insult them with harsh words. We hope that by spreading our message throughout our school we will raise awareness of how important it is to lead with kindness toward our classmates.”