Sunday, April 23, 2006

More News-Leader Double Standard?

We asked if the Springfield News-Leader exhibited a double standard by naming the suspended Rountree Elementary School principal not charged with anything while not naming the teacher arrested (but not charged) on suspicion of molesting students.

The lead article in Saturday's edition is on the Missouri Department of Social Services Childrens' Division investigation summary which the paper obtained from a parent.

The confidential report clearly demonstrates the Rountree principal received reports of "concerns that a teacher inappropriately touched students...." And since the principal neglected to respond to these reports, as required by law, she has been suspended with pay. The DSS has concluded the principal should have reported the allegations.

Based on that, should the principal have been named in the News-Leader articles? The paper still has not named the teacher. Is this a double standard?

The principal has not been charged with anything. The evidence indicates she was repeatedly told concerns of inappropriate touching, but didn't believe the teacher had done anything. I'm not opposed to the suspension. I'm not even opposed to the principal being named. But I feel like a double standard is being used. Are we certain the principal did something wrong? Are we certain the teacher did not? If the News-Leader's policy is to not name someone until they've been charged, did they violate that policy by naming the principal?

I'm interested in others' opinions on this.

On a semi-related note, I wonder why the News-Leader did not post the complete print-edition story on its Web site, but only the first five paragraphs, less than one-quarter of the full article.