BISMARCK, N.D. - Hurtful words in high school are nothing new. Wednesday students across the country pledged to shut down one insult in particular.
The term "retarded" is increasingly used to put down students with and without disabilities.
Legacy High is just one of the schools in Bismarck where hundreds of students pledged to stop using the r-word.
The three BPS high schools created viral videos to raise awareness of the derogatory put downs and eliminate negative name-calling entirely.
Nearly a thousand pledges to end the use of a word that went from a clinical description to a commonly-used put down.
“We’re just trying to make people conscious of the fact that it's hurtful to people who have disabilities,” said Hayley Schmit, senior.
Students with disabilities agree, words are powerful.
“It doesn't make me feel very good,” said Tyler Woody, senior.
“It makes you feel insulted,” said Tanner Schantz, junior.
Students say the awareness has been effective.
“I've definitely heard it, but I do think it's going down the more we talk about it and address it. I think it gets better,” said Sydney Dollinger, sophomore.
Others say there's a better r-word.
“We should treat people with respect,” Woody said.
There was one common theme Wednesday: spread the word to end the word.
You can watch the full videos on each high school's social media accounts.
Peer-to-peer leaders say they will be doing more awareness activities in April for Autism Awareness month.