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Archive for Friday, June 6, 2003

Transcript of student writer’s meeting with Oskaloosa principal

June 6, 2003

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Oskaloosa High School senior Lacey Hanson requested a meeting with OHS Principal Brad Reed after he decided Hanson's story about the reassignment of high school teachers wouldn't run without revisions recommended by the administration.

Hanson balked at changes proposed by Reed for a story written for the school's student newspaper, the Oskaloosa Insider. Hanson, assistant editor of the paper, wrote a story that centered on the administration's reasons for staff adjustments and included teacher and student reaction.

The two met to discuss the stalemate May 8 in the principal's office. Hanson recorded 30 minutes of the conversation.

Here are excerpts:

Reed: "I think, Lacey, for whatever reason you have something personal against me."

Hanson: "No I don't."

Reed: "Well, I believe that."

Hanson: "What have I done to make you believe that?"

Reed: "Just the way that you act. Just the way you're sitting there: 'Why haven't you done this? Why haven't you done that?' I answered you, you said, 'Yeah, but why haven't you --"

Hanson: "I'm just trying to find out the truth."




Reed: "What if I wrote something that was negative and put you in a bad light?"

Hanson: "It depends."

Reed: "If I want to write an article about what a sorry individual you are, then I'll write an article about what a sorry individual you are. I wouldn't write an article about student government and talk about your role in student government and pull something in about what a sorry individual you are."




Reed: "I'm not mad at you."

Hanson: "I think that you are."

Reed: "Absolutely not, Lacey. Absolutely not. You're a young person. I know you're trying to do this and you want to do this the right way."

Hanson: "And I believe I did it the right way."

Reed: "I disagree."

Hanson: "It has my name under the title, though."

Reed: "That's why we have a problem. You made a lot more out of this than what it is."

Hanson: "I think you're the one making a lot more out of it."

Reed: "Now you see why I feel the way I do."

Hanson: "You understand why I feel the way I do."

Reed: "I think you have the wrong idea about what to do. You don't understand. You are not a principal. You're not a teacher. You're not in education. You don't understand why we have to do things a certain way."

Hanson: "You don't know what it's like to walk in my shoes either."

Reed: "Some people have that attitude that they know a little bit more than what they do know. I had that attitude when I was young. You're going to find out 10 years from now, you're going to find out you didn't know quite as much as you thought you did."




Reed: "I sat down with the editor and said these are the things that would make it a stronger article."

Hanson: "I saw it. I don't agree with the changes, because it's not my article any more."

Reed: "I'm not making any changes. That's up to you guys. That's up to the editor."

Hanson: "But what happens if we don't make the changes?"

Reed: "Well, if I don't see another article, it won't go to print."

Hanson: "Do you have the right to say that?"

Reed: "Absolutely. I absolutely have the right to control curriculum in this school. That's part of our curriculum."

Hanson: "It's a student-run paper."

Reed: "It doesn't matter. It's part of our curriculum. That'd be like saying, 'You can't control the basketball team.' Yeah, I can. It's part of our co-curricular activities. We control what goes on in this school. We're not going to put out something that is inaccurate, that's defamatory or is going to cause a disruption in this school."

Hanson: You think my article is all those things?"

Reed: "Absolutely."

Hanson: "Why?"

Reed: "The same reason I think that wall is blue. I can see it. That's what I think. Okay."




Reed: "I had hoped that you would rework the article. I still have hope. They're diminishing because I've seen your attitude here and I don't think you're going to do that."

Hanson: "I guess we'll see what happens."




Hanson: "I'm disappointed with what you guys are doing and the way you're behaving."

Reed: "I'm disappointed, too."

Hanson: "In me or you?"

Reed: "I'm not disappointed in me."

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