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High school students pledge to stop using 'R' word

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Students at Corning-Painted Post High School are on a mission to stop the use of the 'R' word and to "spread the word to end the word."

In a video created by the school's Youth Activation Committee, students are filmed saying they pledge to support "the elimination of the derogatory use of the R word from everyday speech and promote acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities." 

On Thursday, they promoted all-inclusive activities to encourage interaction and engagement between students with and without disabilities.

Unified basketball is one project on their list, and the new interscholastic sport will include girls, boys, and people with disabilities playing on the same team.

"If you've ever been to a home basketball game, you know that it's a pretty amazing atmosphere and we want to simulate that same experience for our Unified Basketball team as well," YAC Advisor Julie Pierce said. 

The students encouraged their peers to also pledge against using the 'R' word by signing their name.

Other activities included playing mini basketball, giving out free cookies, and playing trivia games. 

Jason Rodriguez, a senior, says the answer was clear to him when asked to jumpstart the committee.

"We need to have kids respect everyone and one another, so when Ms. Pierce came up to me individually and asked me if I would love to be a part of this, I had no hesitation," Rodriguez said. "I knew right away this is something I want to get involved in and try to help with in the community."

The unified basketball season begins in May, and the committee says to expect to see them doing more projects in the future because this isn't a one-and-done.

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