BY BUDDY NEVINS
(Thank you, readers.
Your comments – many of them astute and very well presented – has caused me to rethink my position on the Yearbook.
My original post below was inarticulate enough to cause confusion. I’m big enough to admit that.
I applaud the students who worked in any capacity on the Douglas Yearbook. I also want to make it clear that a few pages in a large Yearbook does not reflect any other excellently executed material.
I also agree that Washington Collado’s trouble was a significant incident that warranted being mentioned. We could argue about how it was mentioned, whether it was fairly presented, and whether it favored the principal.
I think that the seven pages devoted to Collado — almost all of it favorable to him — is a little much. One page, written by Niki Wasserman, is a well done opinion piece that is clearly one sided. On the page is a poll of 303 students, a mere fraction of the number at the school, which found 60 percent believed the principal should stay. Putting aside the obvious questions about where and how the poll was taken (at the pro-Collado demonstration?), that still means that 40 percent of the students are in favor of him leaving.
Niki Wasserman’s opinion piece, well done but one-sided (click to enlarge)
That Collado’s situation had to be mentioned at all is my problem with him.
There are dozens of high schools in Broward County. Many have parents equally passionate about their cheerleading programs as Douglas.
Nowhere else has this situation been allowed to get out of hand.
A real leader would have found a way to skillfully negotiate a way to calm the situation. Instead, a minor situation between a small group of parents was allowed to fester and eventually boil over to involve the School Board and the media.
The merits of the two sides’ positions are not what counts. What counts is that Collado couldn’t find a way to bring the two sides together. I believe that this lack of leadership eventually cost him his job at Douglas.
As one reader commented below (Parkland Parent No. 13), most students and parents don’t care about any of this. Most aren’t part of the cheerleading program and none of it affects them. So it could be argued that less attention should have been paid to it in the Yearbook.
That said, working on the Yearbook itself is a worthy endeavor for any student.
Thanks again for participating in Browardbeat.com.
P.S.: For those of you mentioning the students’ Freedom of the Press:
Students don’t have absolute freedom to write anything they want in school publications. That was decided in court decisions years ago. The principal and staff do have the right to determine what appears in the Yearbook, just like the editor of the Sun-Sentinel, the New York Times or the Huffington Post can determine what appears in their publications. )
The Original Post is below:
If you had any doubt that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Principal Washington Collado needed to go, exhibit No. 1 is this year’s school’s yearbook.
Collado was told earlier this year he would be transferred out of Douglas before next school year.
In an obvious editorial stand against the transfer, the Yearbook venerates Collado.
It mentions his bosses evaluated him as “highly effective” in 2012. It mentions that 200 demonstrated outside the school against his transfer.
And I thought Yearbooks were about the students’ year, not the principal.
The Yearbook also has two pictures of Melissa Prochilo, the former Douglas cheerleading coach dumped by the School Board after complaints about her.
There are no pictures – I am told – of the current coach.
It was in part the cheerleading dispute between two sets of parents over Porchillo that caused Collado’s transfer. In a lack of leadership, he failed to quell the disagreement, allowing it to get out of hand.
Now the Yearbook is stirring the pot again!
Some of the Parkland school’s parents are upset. A Board member said, “I thought this was over.”
Here are two questions:
(1) Doesn’t Principal Collado have any control of his school’s Yearbook?
(2) What does the Yearbook say about Collado’s respect for Supintendent Robert Runcie, who transferred him, and the School Board that backed up Runcie?