Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Startling admission by News Journal: suppressing stories of school bus violence

The News Journal's editoral page today contains a disturbing if unintentional admission:  our State newspaper has known considerably more details about school bus violence for quite awhile than it has apparently reported:

But school bus thuggery is just not limited to backseats beat downs in bad city neighborhoods. Over the last year this paper had to turn down letters from a Newark parent with whose 11-year-old was the new kid on the bus, and made the mistake of sitting in the wrong seat. Although she apologized, the offended boy threatened to rape her in the back of the bus if she did.
A private school mother’s letter never made print last fall because she also gave too many details that would identify her kid to his terrorizers. His mental harassment, shoves and teasing continued despite the parent’s complaint. In his eyes it came down to the one fact about himself the student could not change – he failed to lose his native born non-English accent after his adoption. So she drove him to school.

Think about this for a moment.

I can understand the necessity of either heavily editing or not printing these letters if they provided too many details that might compromise the safety or identity of child victims.  That's a given.

But where was the investigatory reporting prompted by these and other letters that might have led to a greater awareness of the problem before a seven-year-old Brandywine student was brutally assaulted two weeks ago?

Not only is there a general responsibility of a free press to investigate and report on such issues, there is a particular responsibility when you publish the only State-wide newspaper, and it seems that here our favorite Gannett paper has failed the test.


kavips said...

Try visiting a high school for a day. You will definitely OMG. None of this gets out. Those instances on the school bus, nothing compared to the reality of putting 6 hours in our public high schools. And keep in mind, these students were on their "best" behavior because of my influx into their environment.

You have only to spend one day, in a high school, to see exactly where our system is broken...

It is time for a secret cell phone video I think.... Teachers will get fired, students will get expelled. It has to come from a visiting parent.

Bottom line, is we need to increase personnel, not cut them out due to budget cuts...

Steven H. Newton said...


I am not in complete agreement with that statement, and I think you need to be careful.

I spend a lot of time in Delaware high schools, supervising student teachers, visiting with sports teams, consulting with faculty.

While there are disciplinary issues in some of our schools no doubt, the image that Delaware high schools are, as a rule, out of control is an urban legend.

Hube said...

Surprised at the News Journal, Steve? The paper which refuses to publish the race/ethnicities of criminal suspects ... because of political correctness??

kavips said...

Steve: which schools are not such?