Soledad en masa

An overt lack of oversight

with 4 comments

Today, when my browser loaded the Los Angeles Times’ webpage, my attention was caught by the headline “Threat hinted at school; absences spike.” What happened is that on the Valentine’s Day edition of Savanna (Anaheim) High School’s newspaper, amongst the other love wishes, this gem of a message was included:

To Metal Destroyer Militia. Remember guys — We all go down 2/22!! Let’s quit stalling!! Much Love! 666! All the way baby!

Today, around 1,400 students missed class. Granted, it’s Friday, but a district spokeswoman noted that Fridays typically have only about 60 absences. Half the student body missed!

It makes me wonder just how much oversight there is at this high school’s newspaper. When I was part of South Gate High School’s newspaper, we would have two times when people could submit message: Valentine’s Day and Graduation (Seniors and faculty only). We put restrictions on the messages:

  • Nicknames could be used, as long as Journalism had the full name of the person who wrote it
  • No threats, coarse language, gang names, etc.
  • Any notes with coarse language, threats, and/or anything that may be perceived as racist or gang-related would not be printed and the money for printing the message would be returned

The system we had also called for a lot of people to look over the final copy. The person who was copying the message from paper to computer had to read it and could flag messages as unprintable. Our faculty adviser made sure to look over the messages and would flag anything offensive. Sure, this made the process a bit longer (we were not a regular newspaper, by the way; we printed, at most, once a month); but did you hear anything like this happen at South Gate High School? NO!

Schools need greater oversight over their newspapers. Not to censor, but to make sure that no threats like this one are published. I don’t want to hear of similar moments like this at South Gate High School, Southeast High School (which I still think should be called Lugo High School), Roosevelt High School, or any other high school in the LAUSD. Be smart and make sure to know what is being printed.

On another note, the Rough Riders over at the Roosevelt High School newspaper’s blog just posted a piece on teacher-student interaction that I think is worth a read.

Have a good weekend. I’m off to write a ten page paper on what aspects of the governmental and societal structure of dynastic China were maintained by Chairman Mao in his communist government in China. It’s due Monday at ten a.m.


Written by soledadenmasa

February 22, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Education, South Gate

4 Responses

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  1. Yeah, someone must have had to type that in somewhere. Even the student staff should be able to sense the tone of a threat. Though I bet most people took the day off just for fun, as I know I would!


    February 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm

  2. Do you remember when we would write fake dedications? Maybe this was a sorry attempt by a student to arouse some sort of excitement in his/her pathetic little world, or maybe it was their attempt at a joke. Who knows?

    But I do agree that there should be some sort of screening process before printing, if only to screen and remove the dim-witted articles. High school newspapers are kind of a joke, but definitely a good experience.


    February 24, 2008 at 4:09 am

  3. The fake dedications are nothing like this. We never posted threats. They were mostly inside jokes or pointless. People need more damn common sense. You don’t post threats because stuff like this happens. Even if it was their own joke, there has to be some sort of oversight to make sure this doesn’t get printed again.

    High school “journalists” are wrong to think their product is not being read.


    February 24, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  4. future post on watchourcity


    February 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm

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