Friday, June 6, 2008

Broken Eggs

CCC has often taken issue with the the Daily News-Record's editors. They usually drink, no guzzle, the Kool-Aide laced with right wing chicken crap which they spread across the Valley with reckless abandon. But, every now and then they get it almost right. The editor's call to Release the Report is, for the most part, on target. The public's business should be, well.... public
The story began when an investigation into a robbery led to an investigation and revelations that a football player had been selling prescription drugs to teammates. Things got worse when police suggested that some coaches knew about it. Still unclear (except perhaps in the report) is what those coaches and school administrators did in response to that knowledge.
CCC believes that the eggs of secrecy should be cracked open and this story should be brought before the community. These are, after all, serious charges of interest not only to those directly involved, but to parents and the entire community. The DNR, that bastion of the First Amendment and freedom of the press (at least when it suits their agenda), is calling on the Harrisonburg School Board to release the entire report of the investigation it commissioned. And release it now!
However a couple caveats are in order. While the DNR wants all the names and juicy gossip (gotta sell those papers), there are some legal matters to consider. Both the students and school employees involved have legal rights to some confidentiality at this early stage of the investigation. The School Board should respect those rights, as much as possible, when releasing the report. The School Board must also consider how a full release could impact the ongoing police investigation and potential criminal trials. If full release of the report hampers a fair investigation by police or creates an undue prejudice against defendants, it is reasonable withhold parts of it for now.
The School Board's investigation is rightly targeted on increasing awareness of drugs being brought into the schools and on revising administrative policies and procedures to deal with it in the future. If individuals failed in their duties, the School Board should deal with it as personnel issues. Naming names and a public chopping off of heads will not help with those goals. Release the essential findings of the report but preserve some confidentiality, for now. Allow the legal processes time to work. Only then should the full report be released. 
In the meantime, the DNR's crack reporters can dig out the names and gossip and the editors can decide to print or not. But, the School Board does not owe them an assist.

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