Friday, April 21, 2006

Double Standard?

The Springfield News-Leader reports today that the Rountree Elementary school principal has been placed on paid administrative leave. The action comes following a Missouri Department of Social Services report indicated sexual abuse and neglect occurred at the school. In March, a teacher was arrested on suspicion of molesting students. The teacher has not been charged.

The News-Leader identifies the principal by name, but has never identified the accused teacher by name. Here's their explanation as to why:

The News-Leader has not named the accused teacher because he has not been charged with a crime. The principal has been named because reporting the change in leadership at Rountree requires identifying the principal.

Exactly how does "reporting the change in leadership at Rountree" require identifying the principal? Why the double standard?

Some readers of Ron Davis' blog objected to the teacher being named when arrested, but not charged. Should the news media name the principal who has been placed on administrative leave? Couldn't the media simply say the "Rountree Elementary principal" as I've done in this post?

Seriously, I'm very curious about this and not trying to mock. I'm open to arguments either way on the naming of the teacher and/or the principal. I don't buy the News-Leader's explanation for naming the principal but not the teacher.