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.