Op-Ed: Blueprint Reaffirms Its Ethical Responsibilities

By The Blueprint Editorial Board

The Editorial Board is composed of journalists who share an opinion after conducting collective research and discussion. The Board’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Blueprint staff or advisors. 

   A letter from Acalanes Principal Eric Shawn dated Sept. 7 informed the football community that junior varsity coach Greg Young had been placed on administrative leave through the end of the football season, effective immediately. On Oct. 12, in another letter to the football community and to staff, Shawn announced Young’s reinstatement. 

    Teachers, students, and parents do not have a clear understanding of the incident that prompted Young’s administrative leave, nor the process of his reinstatement, and many people look to Blueprint as a source of information on such events. We understand this expectation and believe that we owe our community an explanation as to why we are not covering this story. 

    As journalists, we recognized the importance of covering Young’s reinstatement, but we could not do so ethically; we chose to cease work on our article regarding the reinstatement to instead discuss Blueprint’s journalistic process and principles in the context of this piece.

A lack of reliable information invites misinformation. Misinformation can be more damaging than the story itself. However, our ethical responsibility to minimize harm towards those involved outweighs the potential spread of misinformation in the community.

As students, we have limits in our access to information regarding Young’s reinstatement, as the District could not reveal certain details. Despite this, our job as journalists remains to find and report the whole truth. We attempted to write this story because we always aim to ask questions that provide transparency.

   During the interview process, we tried to clarify that our story revolved solely around Young’s reinstatement. We planned to explore the idea of restorative justice practices which Shawn cited as a major reason for Young’s reinstatement. Despite this, both Acalanes Union High School District administrators and Acalanes site administration declined to comment on Young’s reinstatement, citing personnel matters. The integration of restorative justice practices remains an important story, and Blueprint plans to cover it in a future issue, separate from Young’s reinstatement. 

   Blueprint seeks to provide information about the events ongoing in our community to help readers draw their own conclusions. Without sufficient sources, we cannot provide our readers with a fair and balanced presentation of all sides of a story.  

  At times, our duty to report the news is overshadowed by our responsibility to ensure that our words do not cause harm. Now is such a time, and after exhausting all possible interview options, it was clear that writing this story following our journalistic integrity would not be feasible.

For any questions, comments, or letters to the editor, please email ahsblueprint@auhsdschools.org. It is at the Editors-in-Chief’s discretion which letters will be published.  

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