Editorial: Response to Weston coverage

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The Menlo-Atherton Bear News recently decided to take down an article regarding assistant track coach Kelly Weston because of an unfortunate and juvenile act that caused the staff to feel physically threatened.

Despite complaints from parents, students, and M-A staff, we stand firmly behind our coverage of the allegations made against Coach Weston.  A good journalist covers relevant, timely, and interesting news in an objective manner, despite the controversy it may evoke.  In no way did we stray from this responsibility.  The M-A Bear News did not break this story; we only furthered the coverage of this undeniably pertinent article that was, in fact, broken by the Almanac and the Mercury News over five months ago.

The relevance of the story emphasizes the existing racial problems at M-A, a school which has been used by Stanford professors as an example of modern-day segregation.  Often described as “two schools inside a school,” M-A’s student body is quite diverse, but the classes are as homogenous as the commonly criticized private school down the road.  Therefore, using racial slurs at M-A is particularly damaging and further perpetuates existing racial problems.  To remain silent over this issue is to pretend that nothing is wrong.

Our decision to take down the story should not be perceived as a sign that we are easily influenced.  The content of our website is not chosen by our sponsors, the administration, or even our advisers.  Legally, all decisions concerning articles are ultimately made by the student editorial board in accordance with Education Code 48907; our advisers have no legal authority to restrict our content.  We do not revel in the opportunity to harm others, but we won’t make any progress until  we stop making excuses.  Ignoring this is not the polite thing to do.

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5 Responses to “Editorial: Response to Weston coverage”

  1. Pam Stoner on November 5th, 2009 6:42 pm

    I am so relieved to see this editorial. I was wondering why the posting was deleted… Now I understand, that even though you have a first amendment right to freedom of press, you were threatened, and I don’t blame you for dropping it. That’s really sad that it involved physical threats when you were just doing your jobs as journalists. I think your online newspaper is nothing short of amazing, and I hope someday we/you can have open and honest dialogue and transparent coverage of issues at our beloved school, even though we may each have differing opinions and experiences.

  2. Sue Kayton on November 5th, 2009 11:01 pm

    Journalists are expected to get their facts right. This editorial contains incorrect facts. Nobody accused Coach Kelly of using racial slurs at M-A. This editorial is an example of irresponsible journalism. Not only did you fail to correct your previous mistake, but you compounded it in this editorial. Please take down this editorial, correct the facts, and then re-post it with the correct facts. As it currently stands, it is legally actionable and its continuted presence in cyberspace leaves the high school open to legal proceedings.

  3. Hannah Rosenfeld on November 6th, 2009 1:18 pm

    The only facts we published were based on public record, information from the District Attorney, and interviews with multiple students who confirmed that he used such inappropriate language. We have recorded interviews to prove it. Legally we’re covered. If you want a more detailed reply of how thorough we were, feel free to submit a letter to the editor. [email protected]

  4. Michael Scott on November 12th, 2009 10:57 pm

    No one accused him of using racial slurs? This is clearly stated in the original article (which contained no bias). The story was reputable in my opinion, as it only gave the story as it had been told in other publications online.

  5. Professor Pat on December 11th, 2009 12:25 pm

    Wow, very impressive site. Your editorial staff is to be commended not only for outstanding reporting but exemplary command of English usage and style, as well. Interesting to note how “the more things change, the more they stay the same…” M-A has been fighting the “two schools inside a school” syndrome for the better part of 40 years now. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the racism was more overt, I think, with violent eruptions on and off campus a commonplace occurrence. Now, it is more subtle but still pervasive. Keep up the great work.

Editorial: Response to Weston coverage