June 22, 2001

Editorial

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Imposes Censorship!

A serious turn of events has occurred within the San Diego Unified School District that has teachers, parents and administrators in turmoil. La Prensa San Diego has been banned from the public school Internet system! Our crime? We published a series of articles on the numerous confrontations that have been occurring between parents, teachers, students and the Superintendent of Schools, Alan Bersin!

What does this mean? Teachers, administrators, students, and all school organizations will not have access to La Prensa San Diego. Superintendent Bersin has imposed Censorship on a publicly financed Internet system. The First Amendment guaranteeing "Freedom of Speech" has a sinister implication by Bersin's definition: "Either you follow the mandates of those in positions of elective or appointive offices, or you will be destroyed."

Freedom of the press is a constitutional protection for the people of this country. An unfettered press must be able to report on the operations of government, individuals and organizations, and be able to report on any and all of the news that is fit to be printed. Bersin did not like that La Prensa San Diego chose to interview those who had disparaging opinions of his ability to properly administer the school district.

After due and diligent investigation by our staff reporters, our interviews were published in successive issues of La Prensa San Diego. Efforts to interview the Superintendent were unsuccessful. He refused to speak to our reporters. His Communications Department arrogantly stonewalled attempts to set up interviews. They insisted that we speak with them only! We were unwilling to have underlings do the talking for him.

Superintendent Bersin, who had underestimated the ability of La Prensa San Diego to reach large segments of the public, finally realized the impact that the stories were having across San Diego County. Teachers and parents began using the information to question and challenge Superintendent Bersin and the members of his small cadre who robotically carried out his commands.

Fearing the fallout, Superintendent Bersin ordered that La Prensa San Diego no longer be allowed on the school's District Internet. Teachers, administrators and students were suddenly being treated like citizens of a third world country where everything they read is tightly controlled and may not stray from the party line. Those teachers who spoke up in opposition to the failed policies of the Superintendent, that have led to thousands of our students graduating without having received an education, now fear losing their jobs.

This is what results when a Superintendent is hired who has never spent a day teaching a classroom of children. This is what happens when a Superintendent's first day on the job is his first day of work in the field of education! For that, the blame sits squarely on the laps of the incompetent, 3-person majority on the Board of Trustees.

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