By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One school in North Philadelphia is taking initiative to create a more positive atmosphere by changing the words students use to describe each other.

An assembly was held Friday at Simon Gratz High School in connection with the Special Olympics.

Ann McKetta, assistant principal of specialized services, explains it’s for the “R-word Campaign:”

“The ‘R-word Campaign’ is ‘spread the word to end the word,’ explains Ann McKetta, assistant principal of specialized services. “So the word is ‘retard’ or ‘retarded’ and what we’re trying to do is just bring awareness to the fact of how hurtful and dehumanizing the word is.”

Students tell KYW Newsradio the assembly is important, and came off as incredibly positive:

“I’m really excited about it! I really think it’s going to make a change.”

“Yeah, it is actually really great. Hopefully it will be from Simon Gratz and all schools across Philadelphia.”

“It’s going to make a difference in everyone’s lives. People are going to see the difference and want to become a part of that difference.”

9th and 10th grade Principal Peter Langer says there are a large number of students with disabilities in the building:

“We are working that every single student shows respect to every single other student.”

Starting, he says, by ending the ‘R-word.’

Hadas Kuznits