According to The Times, to achieve academic excellence is to be a "nerd." What else can one assume from the headlines on the story (Southeast/Long Beach sections, June 23) concerning the achievement of Whitney High School in its ranking of No. 1 academically in the state? One headline reads "Whitney High Seniors Rank No. 1 in State, Nerds of All They Survey" and the other states, "Whitney: It Has State's No. 1 Nerds."
I feel The Times has done a disservice, not only to the students presently at Whitney and those who will be entering next fall, but to all students who strive to excel academically.
At a time when we are struggling as a nation to upgrade our educational facilities, The Times has chosen to downgrade intelligence and hard work in the academic area by using a term which is extremely pejorative.
No teen-ager wants to be known as a nerd. If the Whitney High School students use this term themselves, that is one thing. For The Times to use this term in headlines is inexcusable, insulting, misleading and in extremely poor taste.
I feel The Times owes the students of Whitney High School, and striving students everywhere, a prompt and sincere apology.