On more than one occasion I have written and stated that the Journal Star is the most community divisive media from Chicago to St. Louis and from Des Moines to Indianapolis. It is a media that embarrasses its community leaders whenever an opportunity arises. Then it criticizes these leaders for not running for public office or serving in positions of authority over others in the public sector. Many Journal Star headlines and articles frighten some businesses and some visitors from even considering moving to the City of Peoria.
On Sunday, a guy who I’m told teaches at a major local university is featured on the front page of the JS crying the administration of Pleasant Valley Middle School committed a foul for their decision to send a 12 year old “pensive” (her picture with her pink stresses, not maroon; the journalist changed it to maroon so it fit in the headline, “Girl marooned by hairdo”) kid home because she violated the language in the school handbook. I quote , “Any type of dress or grooming that is inappropriate or disruptive will not be permitted, and students will be asked to change or given alternate clothing. Refusal to cooperate could result in the student being sent home.”
The apparently disobedient 12 year old kid is described as an honor student. Surely she and her mother can read and respect the rulings of those in charge of kids. School Boards and School Administrators with legal counsel determine dress and conduct codes, not a kid and parent just because the mother spent $100.00 and 10 hours on a hairdo. $100 bucks on a 12 year old kid’s hairdo?
The JS says that the kids name is Shawnterya Carter and her mother’s name is Ebony Neasman. It doesn’t mention that Pleasant Valley Middle School attendees are 72% poverty “family” kids.(The mother said the hairdo cost $100.00) Hmmmmm. The usual phrase was thrown in by the mother; “I think I’m going to have to get a lawyer”.
The JS whines about rising crime in Peoria and wants to blame everybody that’s anybody for the problem. When kids flout the rules and the law, someone on the editorial board or some reporter gets around eventually if not immediately placing the blame on authorities that do their best to keep law and order in Peoria. Then they whine about rising crime in Peoria. Any Police Officer will tell you that one of the major causes of crime in Peoria is the disrespect of any type of authority.
On 11/01, the JSEB wrote “Stressing out over student’s tresses.” Cute title. Both articles will tend to make this apparently disrespectful kid and parent martyr’s to the cause of disobedience. I am familiar with this school and its administrator. I have great regard for the benefits they bring to that community. Principal Somogyi followed the correct procedure to refer the reporter’s call to her superior, Superintendent Allen Johnson. Then the writer whines “He didn’t call me back.” Why should he? I suspect he already knew of the threat of a lawsuit by the “mother”. Any school attorney will tell the party being attacked to not let some bullying reporter attempt to try and convict the parties being victimized in the newspaper.
Remember when the JS twice reported that I approached a “mild manner Arthur Ashe” type in a parking lot when the police report clearly stated the “Arthur Ashe 30 year younger type” approached me saying “if you ever have a problem with my property call me.” (the property was registered at City Hall in the name of a woman with a different last name), What he really said was describing at least three ways to remove my M-----F------ head .After my protest the JS eventually issued a correction buried at the bottom left hand corner of page B11
I have spent a goodly number of hours visiting schools and viewing how a few kids in almost any class show their disrespect to almost any kind of authority. As a result, some teachers try to make “buddies” of these disruptive kids or ignore them totally in the classroom. Most teachers tell me that if they correct disruptive kids, the mother, note I say mother, comes railing and threatening the principal and the teacher. .
Both my wife and I remember that when we taught, disrespectful kids were handled by school authorities supported by the disruptive kid’s parents. We also knew to be a respectful kid’s friend but not become a “buddy” to any minor. Not true in much of our permissive society today.
Most of us who live in this community say to the JS, let the schools and other authorities do their jobs without every event involving a black becoming a racial front page issue and everyone they don’t like becoming whipping stock.
We are sick of it. Many of us hoped things would change when the paper was sold and some of those divisive to the community “retired”. Instead the JS looks more like the paper’s most of us give a glance but never buy when we check out at the grocery counter.