Letter to the editor: Taking KOMO to task for ‘special ed’ label

To the editor:

In Joel Moreno’s KOMO story on the tragic assault at our school he suggested it was a case of “bullying gone too far,” and several times used the words “special ed student” to describe the victim. I have to wonder, therefore, if he or his editor actually care how bullying works, because they just hung a bullseye on that student that will follow him for the rest of his career.

His editor might like to know it’s not called “Special Ed”; it’s called Learning Support, because that student gets the same “ed” the rest, just with targeted support. Joel knew that, because our principal told him and even advised against labeling the boy. Joel’s response? “We feel it’s an important part of the story.”

Right. Story. It isn’t about caring about the kid—or even about the problem of bullying—it’s about salable stories. And Joel’s instincts for that were dead on—today, CNN picked it up, and the label went national.

A thing we learn in Journalism at MTHS is a code of journalist ethics, so we don’t become a lazy, soulless tabloid. Joel just showed us why.

By the way, are there cases of “bullying gone just right?”

Stephen Merlino
Mountlake Terrace High School Teacher

  1. Really, this commentary is deplorable.  I thought MLT News had a policy to screen out personal attacks and anonymous speech?  Seems it is only enforced when someone makes a political point that the moderator disagrees with.  It is apparent from this comment thread that it is only selectively enforced, and not for the purpose of maintaining respect among readers.

    1. You are correct about the policy – emails were sent asking to confirm identities but in some cases weren’t responded to. We are cleaning those out now. Meanwhile, would you like to supply your name? Teresa Wippel, Publisher

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