Editor Needed: Yearbook Labels Special Needs Kids ‘Mentally Retarded’

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mesquite high schoolYearbook and prom: two high-school staples that inevitably cause so much drama. The latest incident comes to us via Mesquite High School in Texas, where special education students were labelled “mentally retarded” in the school’s yearbook. Ouch.

Look, mistakes happen, but one as big as this is inexcusable. Were there no teachers, principals – any mature adults – involved in the production process? Because, really, calling special ed students “retarded” isn’t cool.

“There was an oversight in the editing approval process….” Laura Jobe, the district’s communications director, told The Dallas Morning News. “The use of the words ‘mentally retarded’ is something we would never condone.” Fortunately, the yearbooks were recalled and will be redistributed this week without the offending pages.

What I’m wondering, however, is why these special education students were given their own separate pages in the first place. Granted, it’s been 20 years since I was in high school, but even then – back when things were far less PC than today – no one was devoting exclusive yearbook pages to special ed students. Mesquite High School’s big mistake was labeling at all, as far as I’m concerned.

(Photo: J. Helgason/Shutterstock)