High school principals do not assign grades. However, if they did, I would give an “F” to The Tribune for identifying by name members of the San Luis Obispo High School football team in a recent article about players who had been disciplined and missed games.
Of what value is it to the school or the community to have those young men identified publicly? None, in my opinion. The only result was to add additional emotional distress to the players and their families. If the article was intended to demonstrate that we follow the rules, then publish it and leave out the student names. Point made. No harm done.
Educators are bound by confidentiality, both legally and ethically, when working with students regarding personal issues or violations of school rules. The police and other social service agencies share the same responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of minors in legal matters.
Is it unreasonable to ask The Tribune to follow the same guidelines? I don’t think so. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
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Recently I had the good fortune to hear retiring City Manager Ken Hampian speak about the special nature of our community, a community where trust, respect for the common good and civil dialogue still prevail. He made a point that when a community or a culture turns away from those qualities it is very difficult to get them back.
I appreciate the positive coverage The Tribune provides of local high school sports teams, but in this case it compromised trust and a commitment to the common good when it named those young men in its article. It violated the spirit of our community.
Although it seems to happen less frequently these days, I still believe we live in a world where admitting mistakes is a sign of good character. The Tribune would go a long way in restoring trust if it admitted that it made a mistake and promised not to do it again.
Will Jones is principal of San Luis Obispo High School.