Schools victims of cheap shot
ACHTUNG: The following is a not a “fair and balanced” story, but an editorial opinion by the editor:
The story “Wayland mom: X-rated material found on school iPads” that appeared on line Monday in the Penasee Globe and on mlive.com was nothing less than a cheap shot at the Wayland school district.
I’m sure mlive will defend the story as reporting an important development within our local public schools. Poppycock. I think the story would have been more appropriate for “A Current Affair,” or “Inside Edition” or the National Inquirer.
The Penasee Globe and mlive played the role of Mountain out of a Molehill, Inc., or Tempest in a Teapot, Inc. This unpleasant development was a tiny hiccup in the bold process of a public school system bravely taking a giant leap in technology for its students.
Hundreds of students received their iPad portable computers at the start of the school year and they and their parents were required to learn about dangers that exist on the Internet, the vast information superhighway that unfortunately includes some stuff that’s inappropriate for young people, especially in an educational setting.
If you look hard enough on the Internet, you will find things that are inappropriate. School officials up to this point did their best to erase access to that kind of material, but apparently they were not able to get it all. Who would think something as innocent as iBooks.org would carry something that might be deemed inappropriate?
So one student out of hundreds at Wayland High School and Wayland Middle School found something and a parent immediately contacted school officials, who almost immediately responded by correcting this one problem. By today, I noticed I was unable to gain access to iBooks.org, proving the problem was addressed swiftly. That site has been shut down from access by the Wayland schools.
I submit this published story only stokes the fires of irrational fear. It seems to attempt to embarrass the local public school system and it seems to try to cast doubt on the wisdom of moving forward with newfangled educational technology.
It is also downright salacious, calling attention to sex, a hot topic for anybody, when it really isn’t necessary. It wrongly implies school officials aren’t looking out for young peoples’ and parents’ best interests.
Somebody here went on a fishing expedition. Instead of informing school officials about a problem and then being satisfied with its swift resolution, a parent decided to make it into a story, and a compliant local media made it happen. The consequences of such irresponsible community journalism can be significant.
It is one thing to report a truly significant event, like the tragic beating of one high school girl four years ago, which raised serious questions about bullying. It is yet another to blow out of proportion one tiny incident that was handled and corrected quickly. And no one was harmed.
Was this a story published only because one student out of hundreds somehow found a site that involved sex? I thought the Taliban lived only in Afghanistan.