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Readers comments: 11-12-21

School resource officer clarification needed
Dear editor:
As president of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, I need to clarify some information regarding the school resource officer position after a series of misleading headlines, articles, and social media posts. The Claremont Unified School Board convened a Racial Equity District Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC examined school safety and campus climate during its nine months of meetings. This committee was comprised of students, community members, a member of the police commission, parents, staff, and teachers. The DAC presented its report to the board of education in September, and the district is currently reviewing those recommendations. No decision has been reached by CUSD on the future of the SRO position. We are looking forward to working with officer Brittany Sornborger as she begins her tenure as the new SRO for CUSD.
A recent Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article erroneously included Claremont among the districts which had voted to eliminate the SRO position. Additionally, the recent COURIER article about the new police chief included an editorial prediction that the dialog about school safety “likely will include ending the school resource officer program.” Since the SRO position is jointly funded by both the city of Claremont and CUSD, a mutual decision on the future of that program has yet to be finalized by both bodies.
It is the duty of the elected school board members to oversee the safety of our CUSD students, faculty, and staff while they are on our campuses. As a school board, we will continue our work to assure that our CUSD community can learn and work in a safe and supportive environment.
Nancy Treser Osgood
President, Claremont Unified School District Board of Education

Response to article of CHS teacher’s comments
Dear editor:
I’ve practiced law for almost 53 years in this state (31 in Claremont) and I find it appalling that Claremont High School is investigating Rosalinda Castillo for exercising her rights regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. We do not need an investigation; we should applaud her for having the backbone to stand up and exercise her rights. Free speech is routinely attacked now, and bureaucrats are using their power to make citizens do things contrary to their beliefs.
I have received numerous calls from people in this area that have been threatened with loss of their jobs because they wouldn’t get the vaccine. That is wrong. Ms. Castillo, a 17-year educator, who is exercising her rights to oppose the COVID-19 vaccine for her should not be condemned. The day I let a Claremont bureaucrat investigate me for anything will be the day that I quit practicing law. The State of California and local entities, especially Los Angeles County has mismanaged the COVID crisis so bad that many people have lost everything they’ve had, and no one cares.
There is no way in this planet that if I had young kids they would be allowed to take the shot at this time. It has not been properly tested, and most importantly, if they are so confident in the vaccine for adults and kids, why is there no-liability clause which allows no suit for damages if something goes wrong.
I’ve been around a long time. I lived through the Polio outbreak and somehow I am still here. I was a participant in a clinical trial for Keytruda, the miracle cancer drug for the 21st century, so I know a lot about what is needed for testing to get FDA approval. The testing for the COVID vaccine has not been sufficient and is shown to be weak.
My office has not been closed one day because of the virus. All my employees are free to do what they want and that’s how things are in a free society.
I took the vaccine because of my age. If I was young and saw the statistics I would not have taken it. Forcing this dedicated teacher to do something she does not want to do with her own body is obscene. Maybe someday this country will come to its senses and realize that what makes America great is freedom to at least control your own body and make decisions regarding your family. That simple principal seems to have been lost by the elites. America is suffering big time from the bureaucratic need to control others’ lives. Hopefully Ms. Castillo will prevail in her struggle. Her students need her.
Paul M. Mahoney
of Mahoney & Soll, LLP
Claremont

Comment on council meeting item 4: state of emergency
Dear editor:
When the state of emergency ends, please follow the advice of Peter Weinberger and hold hybrid council and commission meetings. This will enable people who can’t attend in person to see, hear and participate. It will also facilitate social distancing by reducing the number of in-person attendees without reducing public participation.
Please also resume reading the written comments you’ve received, so that we can know what advice and information you’ve received before you discuss an item.
And, if a meeting will run very late because of spoken comments, reading of written comments or any other reason, please continue the remainder of the meeting to another evening. This will accommodate people who can’t stay up late because of personal limitations, family responsibilities or early morning departure for work.
This combination of features will put into practice our core value of transparency and our priority goal to “Promote community engagement through transparency and communication.”
Thanks for reading and for devoting so much of your lives to community service.
Bob Gerecke
Claremont

Publishing ethics
Dear editor:
Please read the attached link regarding journalism ethics and standards: https://guides.lib.uw.edu/research/commstudies/ethics
The link that I have attached is from the publication University Libraries, University of Washington. It is an article from their communication studies department. It focuses on journalism ethics and standards.
The article lists the code of ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists. While I find the investigation of these allegations appropriate, I am very concerned about the ethics of how this person was reported in the local news. This employee was accused by students of these behaviors, which was promptly followed by an investigation from the district office. This is the standard procedure for such claims. It’s called due process. My concern is that when a public school teacher is accused and not formally charged, and not yet formally named by the district office due to an ongoing internal investigation, is it ethical for the local paper to take that accusation from the students, name the teacher and her perceived crime, and post a picture of her before investigations are complete?
It would have been very easy and much more appropriate for the COURIER to report this issue without naming an accused individual or posting a picture of an accused individual. Would the information of the accusation without a name attached be sufficient information for the community? I believe so.
My opinion of the COURIER’s following of the code of ethics:
Would this be considered truthful reporting, or hearsay at this point in time? Is it ethical reporting to report an accusation as the truth? If accusations were the truth, then everyone accused of a crime would be convicted. What about innocent until proven guilty?
Is the reporting objective, or is it based upon the talk of the town and the concerns that were rapidly being spread by the local townspeople and the abundant talk on social media? Is it the COURIER’s standard practice to take accusations and report them as crimes in their publication? If so, should this practice continue?
Is it fair to name a community member in a local paper, while the agency that she works for is investigating the accusation and will not name the accused until the investigation is complete? Is it ethical for a publication to release a name during this stage of an accusation and investigation?
In my view, the publication is not responsible for informing the general public of an individual person’s accused behavior, as there is a system in place, due process, that will officially and legally handle the matter. Therefore, the COURIER has no responsibility for publicly naming a school employee, when the matter is being professionally handled by the school district. This is not investigative journalism where a reporter breaks a story so that the powers that be can take it from there. The system for handling such cases is secure and already in place, and the system was already informed of the accusation.
In following the moral responsibilities of limitation of harm, I believe that the COURIER has not met the standard of not harming others while reporting this story. The accused teacher was named and posterized before she was named by the district and before the district office had a chance to report the outcome of their investigation. This will forever change her standing in the community and it will forever change her occupational prospects. This kind of damage can and most likely will be irreparable. I find it cruel and unnecessary.
If the paper does not print their code of ethics in each publication, does that release them of the responsibility of ethical reporting? Claremont is a highly educated community where one would imagine the desire and need for a local publication that follows basic journalistic ethics and standards be met.
Jacqui Canfield
Claremont

Editor’s note: Ms. Canfield raises important issues about publishing that certainly apply to the COURIER. This story is an important example of how the COURIER serves the community by publishing important, objective information that directly influences the public and their right to know. This includes CHS parents and students who were impacted by the actions of a teacher who could have put them in harm’s way because of her personal beliefs about COVID-19 vaccinations. If we wrote this story with an anonymous subject, it would only fuel rumors, speculation and misinformation. I received several emails from CHS families thanking us for our reporting. Finally, we also attempted to contact the teacher on 10 different occasions, but never received a return call. I have included our company mission statement, which has been published on many occasions. You can always go to our website, claremont-courier.com, and search for “mission statement” to read it again. —PW

Claremont COURIER, Inc. mission statement
We believe strong local news sources create strong communities. Our focus is to inform the public in a fair and objective manner, supported by facts, with a passion for accuracy. We strive to be a source of information reflecting our community values. The COURIER is a voice for the city we serve. Our stories take a pragmatic approach, allowing readers to find solutions to the problems impacting Claremont and their lives. Our content will be distributed both in print and online to ensure that any person has access to our information. We form partnerships with businesses and nonprofits to support their goals, helping make Claremont a special place to live.