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As an educator in the Meeker School District, I have been incredibly disappointed in the seemingly skewed reporting about the district for the past year. Once again I was dismayed with last week’s report about the school board’s public forum held Feb. 3.
My grievances with the article are as follows:
1. At the beginning of the meeting, a community member commented on the newspaper’s lack of unbiased writing, yet last week’s paper was still not a clear picture of what was discussed at the forum nor at the regular session meeting.
2. Misquoting and misrepresentation people’s comments. I personally was upset to see that my only quote was about the loss of our superintendent. While I did make this comment, it was not my focus. I spoke of my feelings that the notion that the entirety of the community is of one opinion is incorrect. I tried to address some questions posed at the forum from my perspective, with the intent to show that there is more than one point of view. In my opinion the articles in this paper have consistently reported only the views and agenda of one very vocal group. This group has continued to complain, create divisions among staff and community and has projected negativity—forgetting that the focus should not be on one individual’s agenda, but that the focus should be on our students. All of our students, not just a select few. All of the negativity for the past year has created a strain among the community, students, parents and teachers and it has continued to get us nowhere. My intention was to suggest that it needs to end. Instead of complaining, we need to start considering solutions and focusing on the great things we (students, community, school) are doing. Near the end of the article it appears through a quote by Iris Franklin, that I suggested, “…that if folks aren’t happy they should just leave (town).” I did not say this, nor did Iris. Other community members were also misquoted; I would highly suggest speaking to each person quoted in the article and finding out what they said and why.
3. Lack of positive reporting. At the forum, and again at the meeting (which was not reported on at all), many comments were made about great things our students are doing around the district. For instance, Jason Browning spoke to the board that night about some amazing things that he witnesses our students doing on a daily basis. He spoke proudly of how our students hold strong to our school motto, “Respect and responsibility, for all, from all.”
I urge our newspaper, community and district staff to follow that same motto.
I would also encourage more people to regularly attend board meetings and not just show up upset because you read or heard something.
Try to be there every time to hear what the board is doing. Find out for yourself what is happening around the district.
Barone Middle School