Parents upset H.S. yearbook in Longview has section about special ed students

Parents upset H.S. yearbook in Longview has section about special ed students »Play Video

LONGVIEW, Wash. - The school year is almost over for students at Longview's Mark Morris High School.

For a lot of kids, that means yearbooks with plenty of photos, articles and special recognition.

But one section of the yearbook has some parents upset. As CEO at The ARC of Cowlitz County, Marti Johnson understands why. Her group advocates for people with mental challenges.

“I think that when a yearbook honors students, you should honor them for their accomplishments.  Sports, the Honor Society, the plays, whatever students are involved in in their activities," Johnson said. "They don't try to honor them or call them out for a distinguishing feature about them.”

That's exactly what happened on pages 62 and 63 of Mark Morris High's yearbook. A section dedicated to learning challenged students in the high school's special education program.

The accompanying article notes special education students look "different" but also says everyone is the same on the inside.

“So if we had a minority group of students, they wouldn't necessarily be called out because they're a minority,” Johnson said.

Johnson believes the yearbook layout is a sign there has to be more education in the community for people to turn the page toward really understanding students with learning disabilities.

“I think people did this in a well-meaning way,” she stated. “And as a way to include these children - these kids - in a yearbook. It just was a misguided idea about how to include them.”

Johnson learned about the yearbook section featuring special education students Thursday morning. She hopes to talk with school officials as soon as possible.