Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Guns at Thomas Jefferson

I've had a few inquiries over the past weeks about our coverage of the gun incident at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy.

Police say a boy brandished a weapon in a classroom. It was a major deal.

It happened late in the week and we didn't have anything until the following Tuesday.


Quite simply, we didn't know about it. While we make daily -- sometimes multiple times a day -- checks of police reports in Cleveland County, we do not make those checks in neighboring counties, for obvious reason (the cops reporter would spend her entire shift driving and wouldn't get any work done).

So, unless we are tipped off about something in a neighboring county, there is no way for us to know. What makes this situation unusual is that we are dealing with an out-of-county school that is attended by a number of "in-county" students.

Anyway, the first I heard of it was late Saturday night at the Heart Ball.

We got on the story Monday, but by then it was old news and it didn't seem right to have a screaming headline on 1A four days after the fact.

Some have juxtaposed our play on the TJCA story with the story about the parent complaining about her sons' suspension. I don't see the connection. They were totally different issues, one in a school in the middle of our coverage area, one in a school outside the fringe of our coverage area.

If we had known about the TJCA situation when it happened, it would undoubtedly have been a top-of-the-fold 1A story. But it wouldn't make sense to downplay a compelling story about the boys' suspensions just because we were out of the loop on the other matter.

By the way, I'm not sure I follow those who accuse us of being sympathetic to the family affected by the suspensions. We just reported what they said and gave the schools a chance to respond.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you check the police records so often why dont you put them in the paper more,.