Celebrate Respect Week

Picture: Ms. Baumgardner’s Class at PTHS Facebook page

By Cynthia Grau/WJEZ News

Respect Week is being recognized countywide with activities and more.

Life Skills teacher Laura Baumgardner explains what Respect Week is all about, which originated from the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign.

“If anybody is still curious about Spread the Word to End the Word, the word we’re trying to end, and I hate to even say it, but it’s the word retard. It’s just a very hurtful word to anybody who has a disability and to their friends and family. So, we are really switching everything around to the word respect. This is our sixth year for this campaign at Pontiac High School and so I really believe we’re changing the culture of our community,” Baumgardner said.

Baumgardner explained that eradicating the use of the R word is closer to becoming a reality due to all the hard work her students do in “Spread the Word to End the Word” and other similar programs.

“I had a new teacher come up to me and say, ‘This is so cool. This is so fun, but I never would have guessed that this was a problem. I’ve never heard a student use the R word.’ And I said ‘Right, because these students are changing the world. They’re changing our community and making it so all people feel respected,” Baumgardner said.

Today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness day, honored with wearing green; Tuesday is Autism Awareness day, with people wearing an autism or multi-colored shirt; Wednesday is Spread the Word to End the Word Day with people wearing their black and gold Respect is Golden shirt; Thursday is ADHD Awareness Day where people can wear purple shirts; and Friday is Down Syndrome Awareness Day, with people commemorating it by wearing blue.

Sunday ends the special week with the Annual Chili Cook-off from 1 to 3 in the high school commons.