GINW Superintendent issues letter regarding LGBTQ controversy
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (Press Release) - Dear Parents/Guardians,
There have been a lot of questions and speculations on what has happened with the school newspaper, The Saga. I want to clear up as much as I can within the confines of legal confidentiality. The article that was published in The Independent was both correct and incorrect. Correct in that the newspaper course is currently not included in our curriculum offerings this year, incorrect on why that decision was made. As course offerings will be considered moving forward, the course may be added based on student requests.
Another incorrect statement that is out there is that our journalism program is being shut down. This past year, our students placed very well at the State level for journalism. Our students will still have that opportunity this year, with other courses being offered such as digital media, yearbook, etc. The assumption that all journalism would be canceled is not only incorrect but blatantly misleading.
When decisions, such as temporarily pausing, not cancelling, a school newspaper is (sic) made, there are many variables that go into this decision as a district, including staffing support, student interest, class scheduling, and so forth. This decision wasn’t made lightly, it wasn’t made hastily, and I assure you, it wasn’t made because of one specific reason as it has been incorrectly reported. The reporter that wrote the article was fully informed of these variables and how the district arrived at its decision but chose to write their interpretation of the situation and disregard the information provided to them.
There has been a very focused point on the canceling of the Saga allegedly due to the articles that were printed in the last issue of the 2021-2022 school year. Several articles focused on topics centered on the LGBTQIA+ community. There were also many other articles about events and activities at Northwest. In addition, there were many activities and articles that were not included in the paper, as well as other articles that needed proofreading to meet the levels of quality we expect at Northwest. None of these decisions had anything to do with the articles being about the LGBTQIA+ community. Needless to say, the allegation that our school district “cancelled” our student newspaper because of one or two articles is completely false and incredibly misleading. I can assure you that discussions regarding the sustainability of The Saga for the 2022-2023 school year began well before the final edition of the 2021-2022 was printed.
On a personal note, I have multiple family members that are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I would never disrespect them or any of our students that are part of this community by halting our paper simply because of this subject matter.
One of the greatest things about Northwest is the Culture that has been established over the years. A large part of that culture is the inclusiveness of the student body and staff at Northwest. No matter the background or previous experiences, every student can find a place at Northwest. Our students truly know that Northwest is a safe environment where everyone is encouraged to be who they are without fear of being treated as anything less than an equal.
We apologize for all the misunderstandings that have risen from this article and are working with our staff and students to find a solution on how we can move forward.
We appreciate your kindness and support as we come up with a solution for everyone involved.
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