I am writing in response to your editorial regarding “Alternative Facts” in which you noted the recent situation regarding “Dr. I’s” role as principal at Lin Howe. Firstly, I want to say that you are absolutely correct that we should not operate on rumor and that we should vet our sources carefully. This is valid and should be applauded.
However, in your article, you stated “…A trickle of unhappiness quickly turned to a tide of outrage, with social media posts flying thick and fast. There was a rumor, or the ghost of a rumor, and people began to respond to it without even knowing what it was. There were strong opinions, based on a complete lack of information. People were totally, utterly certain of something, they just were not sure what it was.”
As a parent at the school and a close observer and participant in this situation, I wanted to offer a few corrections. There was no “trickle of unhappiness”. Parents were stunned to learn last Friday afternoon that our principal did not plan to return for the next school year. The principal herself notified parents in an all-school email. So that was a fact, not rumor. Before we received that email—at least as far as parents were concerned—there had been no “trickle of unhappiness”. After Dr. I’s email, there was discussion of “Why?” on social media. There was also questioning on social media (“Do you think it’s because of X? Maybe Y?”), but as far as I am concerned, no “rumors” were ever presented as fact. On Saturday, we had a school event where several of us spoke to Dr. I directly. While understandably tight-lipped due to her state of limbo, I mention this as evidence of parents’ effort to seek facts vs. spreading rumor. The next step of the process involved at least 40 parents having a meeting with Dr. Arnold in order to discuss our concerns. While we are still seeking answers, this was an effort to nail down the facts. Lastly, parents approached the School Board on Tuesday night and requested that the School Board make every effort to investigate and resolve the situation.
I have never been more proud to be a part of the Lin Howe community. We discovered a serious problem. We sought facts. We demanded answers. We are still looking for answers, because we don’t want to rely on rumor to resolve our concern. We will continue to work together. Yes, social media was a “venting” area and an organizing platform, but this campaign was never based on “alternative facts”.
Bronwyn Schrecker Jamrok