'Best Buddies' at DeLong MS in Eau Claire spread the word to end - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

'Best Buddies' at DeLong MS in Eau Claire spread the word to end the 'R' word


Eau Claire (WQOW) -- This week, students at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire are spreading the word to end the 'R' word in hopes of changing the world. 

As part of 'Spread the Word to End the Word' week, members of DeLong's 'Best Buddies' club plan to visit every classroom with the goal of making the 'R' word a thing of the past. 

After watching a quick video the club put together about the importance of respect, students are encouraged to take and sign a pledge to stop using the word as an insult. 

At the end of the week, those pledges will be displayed proudly in the DeLong cafeteria. 

"It's out there for everybody to see, it's out there as a reminder," said Shelby Galbraith, an adviser for the school's 'Best Buddies' club. "Peers have reminded their friends, 'Oh no, let's be more respectful.' You see it bubbling up in our DeLong community."

'Best Buddies' is an international organization, designed to connect students in special education programs with general education students in their schools. 

DeLong's 'Best Buddies' club was the first middle school chapter in Wisconsin when it formed back in 2010. Now, several other middle schools around the state have added chapters too. 

"If there's a program like Best Buddies - join it. It's a lot of fun and you get to meet new people," said Jessica Weigel, an 8th grader at DeLong Middle School and 'Best Buddies' with fellow DeLong 8th grader Aden Roth. 

Weigel joined the club as a 6th grader and hopes to become a special education teacher some day, just like her mom.

She said, in years past, other students at DeLong have been extremely receptive to the group's message about respect and she's certain this year's campaign to end the 'R' word will be another success. 

"I hope that they realize that it, the 'R' word, hurts people," Weigel told News 18, "and that it's not okay to use that word the ways that people use it." 

CLICK HERE to see for yourself the video DeLong's 'Best Buddies' shared with the school this year. 

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