Spread the Word to End the Word


Whether it be on a wrist in the form of a dark gray bracelet or posted on the wall “Spread the Word to End the Word” has been making a name throughout Mariemont.

The school has adopted the national campaign to provide awareness in efforts to end using the “R” word in a dehumanizing and hurtful way.

Junior Jack Stephens and his family reached out to the Mariemont School District. High school students organized a committee that consists of juniors Max Northrup, Kami Spang, Evan Sizer, Elizabeth Bonnell and sophomore Marah Campbell.

Stephens’ personal connection to the issue comes from his relationship with his sister Kate who was diagnosed with down syndrome. “She’s very special to me. She means a lot, I want everyone to treat her just like they treat everyone else.” Stephens is determined to make a difference for his sister and the world at large.

Jack with sister, Kate. (PHOTO BY STEPHENS).

Stephens chose his committee. He chose a group thinking about students for whom it “would mean something more to them.  It helped to make the decision because they were in Circle of Friends before.” Circle of Friends is a group of students who spend time with and include those with special needs in out-of-school activities.

Marissa Szabo is the teacher advisor in charge of raising awareness for the “R” word campaign in the school.

A poster that students were able to pledge on. (PHOTO BY SHOEMAKER).

“We raise awareness using a number of different methods,” said Szabo. “We are on social media, make videos, hang posters, and use announcements.”

The movement has been a whole-school effort, as students pledged to stop using the “R” word. Dozens of students signed posters from the Spread the Word to End the Word website. Students received a wristband after signing.  “It means a lot to me that people are taking it seriously,” Stephens said. “I have people texting me and reaching out about how they want to stop.”

The peak of the campaign was held on March 6th. “A majority of our campaigning was on the day we put out the posters” said Szabo. The team could be seen in the cafeteria with the poster on a table and sharpie in hand, ready for students to make the pledge. Szabo said “We feel a lot of students participated and word spread well, even though it was mainly on that day the campaigning was effective.”


Students wearing ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ bracelets. (PHOTO BY SHOEMAKER).

“It’s a serious problem that needs to be fixed,” said senior Mark Andrews. Andrews recently pledged to the campaign.  “We use the ‘R’ word way too frequently. I’m glad this campaign has started at Mariemont. It’s making everyone more aware of the problem.” 

Andrews is one example of many who believe that bringing the campaign to Mariemont is a first step in the right direction in ending using the “R” word.