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Texas High School Yearbooks Pulled After ‘Mentally Retarded’ Comment Is Printed

texas yearbooks pulled

A Texas high school has been forced to recall all recently distributed school yearbooks after comments in the book described students with special needs as “mentally retarded.”

KDFW-TV reports that officials at Mesquite High School in Mesquite, Texas, only realised the comment was there when contacted by offended parents and students. Many of those complaining called the language used “appalling and disgraceful.” School spokesperson Laura Jobe told KDFW-TV:

“Some of the disabilities the students in the Special Education Program have are being blind, deaf or non-verbal.”

As the story was picked up by local press, she later explained to the Dallas Morning News:

“There was an oversight in the editing approval process. Those who work inside the special education department know these requirements.”

KDFW said that the yearbooks were confiscated as soon as the complaints started to flood in, and Jobe added that the school “earnestly regrets” the error. She said that students will be getting their yearbooks back from next week, with any pages containing the offending language removed.

In a further act of contrition, Mesquite High School principal Linda Marshall will personally call parents of the special needs students to offer her apologies. Jobe said the Dallas Morning News the district would never condone using the term “mentally retarded.”

A new campaign, “Spread the Word to End the Word”, is aiming to eliminate the use of the ‘r-word’ in everyday life.

See also:Man Finds Message From Jeffrey Dahmer In His Father’s Yearbook

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3 Responses to “Texas High School Yearbooks Pulled After ‘Mentally Retarded’ Comment Is Printed”

  1. Aaron Bart

    I found this article and couldn't agree more.

    Is using the word “retard” offensive?
    by luismaz
    By Luis Mazariegos.

    The recent comments by President Barack Obama about his bowling ability has earned him reprimands from just about everyone and has sparked a national debate: is it ok to use the word retard?

    But of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a referenduum on the appropiateness of a word: we’ve had similar debates about using “gay” to mean “lame” or “stupid” and because of Don Imus, we had a discussion about whether it’s ok to use the word “ho.”.

    So is the word “retard” offensive? Well, in a word, yes. Words that are meant as insults are just inherently offensive – even socially acceptable words like stupid or moron are offensive.

    But other than being nice, is there a special reason why the word “retard” should be completely removed?

    The answer, according to the people who support this, is that “retard” isn’t just insulting, it’s also discriminatory, targeting handicapped people.

    But very rarely do we see people hurling insults at the handicapped at all. Even if someone did, we would be outraged regardless of whether this person was calling the handicapped person a “retard” or a “big poopy head.” It’s not acceptable regardless.

    Banning the word “retard” is just going to make us go for a sillier, more complex word that’s “acceptable.” And then that word will become insulting. It’s happened before – the words “cretin”, “idiot”, “imbecile”, and “moron” were once considered legitimate ways of describing people with disabilities, but no more, of course.

    The same is happening to “retard” and will likely happen to whatever word we have to use now – even “special” is becoming pejorative. It’s what we call the euphemism treadmill, and it points to the fact that we can’t really just replace words and make them not insulting.

    So instead of focusing on using the right words, people should focus on changing people’s attitudes – showing people why disabled people shouldn’t be considered equivalent to a person making a mistake. Restricting speech is not an efficient way of going about this, and not a very honorable means to begin with.