School Crime: Someone’s not telling the truth

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CBS-2 works for you…unless you’re a GCS Central Office staffer. Because some of our downtown elite want to crush the CBS eye, such as in this graphic.

Apparently, Monday’s CBS-2 (WFMY) report on school crime ruffled a lot of feathers downtown, to the point where both school safety officer Tony Scales and San Diego Schools Supt. Terry Grier are criticizing CBS-2 of “sensationalising” the issue for “Sweeps” time.

But tonight, CBS-2 ran a follow-up, in which GCS Board member Garth Hebert was interviewed:

Board member Garth Hébert says he did speak to six principals. He says two told him they felt intimidated not to report incidents. The other four said they didn’t really think there was intimidation.

“I’ve actively sought out to see if it is happening. Yes, it is happening,” he told WFMY News 2’s Erich Spivey. “But, it is not a plague. It is there, it needs to be dealt with, ’cause I don’t believe it is intentionally happening. I think it is just something that has been bred into the system by accident. It can be purged easily, if we’re willing to be honest and say we won’t tolerate this sort of thing.”

I smell a rat, folks. This story is not over.

BTW, more Tony Scales reaction in Wednesday’s N&R.

E.C. )

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3 Responses

  1. Not trying to criticize another media outlet, but I think the point that school officials were making last week was that the premise of the story was flawed. I did not see the airing, but I read the print version and saw the promo, and if you are going to heavily promote and air a story of that nature, it is only fair to quote school officials (other than Sonya Conway), such as Tony Scales, the superintendent, etc. It would have been nice to have some school employees, parents and SROs, even if their identity was protected. If they had this, please correct me. The CBS 2 folo up (what I interpreted as CYA) only included an interview with Garth Hebert and not with any of the other board members, like Deena Hayes, who said some principals don’t report because of leadership style, not because of breathing down their necks by central office. Add in the fact the Eastern embarrassment was clearly an oversight and not intentional (but the lead of the article) and you have the makings of an unbalanced report.

    One last point, and perhaps you can relate with me Erik, but verifying incidents that take place can often be difficult because of the rumor mill. I frequently get calls from parents that the “official” report given by the police is false but they are not willing to go on the record to correct the alleged flaw. People interpret events differently as well so there is a fine balance between accurately reporting an incident from the media side and doing what some consider to be sensationalism.

  2. Morgan,

    I agree that the WFMY report seemed to ‘sensationalize’ the crime statistics. I would have thought they would have published their database of incidents rather than just links to the School Violence Reports and, at least, have Mr. Scales rebutt Sherrif Barnes.

    I also think that it would be interesting for you to expand on your quote – “…like Deena Hayes, who said some principals don’t report because of leadership style”.

    Does this imply that, from a BOE perspective, it’s OK for a principal to not report offenses as required by policy and law because, presumably, it makes him/her a more effective leader e.g. a principal telling kids to “put out the joint and get back to class” rather than bringing in the SRO in order to gain the trust of the kids?

    Is there an acceptable level or class of ‘inappropriate behaviors’ that the school administration should tolerate?

  3. jwg,
    I don’t think Ms. Hayes was trying to justify that rationale, I think she was trying to balance the claim that principals are not reporting incidents because senior staff are telling or hinting for them not to. I interpreted Ms. Hayes comments as the principals bearing some responsibility for this.

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