by NW Spotlight
Part 1 – Questions for KATU’s Dan Tilkin
KATU ran a story on Monday about “security concerns” at Lake Oswego Junior High School. KATU’s investigative reporter, Dan Tilkin, was filmed walking into the school unchallenged. He remained just inside the school for about ten minutes, and he was never challenged. In KATU’s print story, Tilkin said “We wanted to see for ourselves what security was like at the school. Last Monday [4/22/2013], I went with a KATU news photographer back to the school to see what security was like.” In the video, Tilkin says “It appeared like a normal school day, we didn’t see any special events taking place.”
There may be a problem with the veracity of Tilkin’s claim that “we didn’t see any special events taking place.”
In an email sent to parents last Friday (4/26), the Lake Oswego School District said “In an unprecedented breach of these protocols on Monday (during Civil War reenactment activities that involved numerous visitors and other media), a reporter and cameraman from KATU visited LOJHS, deliberately ignored instructions to check in at the office, and used a cell phone to record video documenting that their presence was not challenged by staff members. KATU’s activities included filming of students without permission, and were in violation of LOSD visitor policy.”
The claim by the Lake Oswego School District that KATU came during a Civil War reenactment is supported by an article last Thursday (4/25) in the Lake Oswego Review. The article states that “Civil War re-enactors visited Lake Oswego Junior High School on Monday [4/22/2013],” and “About 300 eighth graders met with re-enactors from the Second U.S. Artillery nonprofit group, including Jack Bentley, who stationed a horse at the cavalry station and showed off Civil War-era medical supplies and artifacts.” So the Civil War reenactment took place on Monday, 4/22, the same day that KATU did their filming at Lake Oswego Junior High School – even though KATU’s Tilkin asserted he didn’t see “any special events taking place.”
One additional place that Tilkin could see that special events, like a Civil War reenactment, were taking place might be in the opening KATU video footage. As Tilkin is getting out of his car, a large white horse trailer can be seen in the background. Possibly the trailer to bring the horse for the cavalry station mentioned in the Lake Oswego Review article?
Tomorrow: Part 2 – Dem farm team practicing their dirty tricks at an early age?
Full text of the email sent to Lake Oswego parents last Friday (4/26/2013):
KATU Violates LOSD Visitor Policy While Investigating School Security
Next week, in response to a viewer complaint about the district, KATU plans to broadcast an investigative report on security at Lake Oswego schools, and specifically at LOJHS. (The complaint did not originate with an LOJHS or school district parent.)
Historically, local media outlets unfailingly honor district policies regarding access to schools and students during the school day. In an unprecedented breach of these protocols on Monday (during Civil War reenactment activities that involved numerous visitors and other media), a reporter and cameraman from KATU visited LOJHS, deliberately ignored instructions to check in at the office, and used a cell phone to record video documenting that their presence was not challenged by staff members. KATU’s activities included filming of students without permission, and were in violation of LOSD visitor policy.
The district has communicated its concerns regarding KATU’s breach of media integrity to KATU management. Superintendent Korach has also contacted LOPD Chief Don Johnson, who has offered his department’s full support and assistance with trespass issues.
Since January, the district’s Safety Committee, with the assistance of LOPD, has been conducting a school-by-school review of safety protocols, including facility-specific vulnerability analysis. Some improvements have already been made. (For obvious reasons, these have not necessarily been shared with KATU for broadcast to the entire Portland metro area.)
An ongoing challenge, especially at the district’s secondary schools, is achieving the right balance for visitor access to our schools, which are central to our sense of community. Clearly, staff members need to be comfortable with confronting individuals who do not belong, even at the risk of insulting those who do. But our schools also conduct many activities that involve and encourage the participation of visitors and volunteers. The Civil War reenactment activities at LOJHS this week are one example. Just today we had others:
- LHS had a traffic safety assembly, with media coverage.
- It was Community Service Day at LOJHS. A school-wide mini Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society took place on the track at LOHS, with visitors and volunteers coming and going all day long.
- It was Mayfete at LOHS, an annual tradition that takes place in the gym and involves the entire student body and many spectators.
To what level and by what mechanisms our schools should control, limit, or screen attendance by visitors at school events during the school day as well as outside of the school day (plays, athletic events, etc.) is a critical aspect of the safety review underway. The School Board will in all likelihood be considering recommendations for measures such as security cameras. How we align the threat of the unknown with our desire for a full, rich and open school community culture is the decision we must make as a community.
[Source: comments below the KATU story]