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Staff demands accountability regarding Robertson’s hiring

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When the Booster Redux staff first published the story about the newly hired principal’s questionable credentials on March 31, we were thrust into an international spotlight for instigating her resignation. Major news organizations, from Good Morning America to the New York Times, kept the phones ringing for weeks.

 

The HuffPost invited us to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 29 in the nation’s capital.

 

Nearly two months after our story was published, all eyes are still on us. With this added pressure, we sit in silence writing — and rewriting — what we have been too afraid to say.

Superintendent Destry Brown supported hiring Amy Robertson despite our findings, and the USD 250 Board of Education has failed to hold him accountable.

 

When our research began on March 15, we invited Brown to meet with us later that day. We spent hours compiling evidence about her questionable educational background, evidence that Brown dismissed within minutes.

 

We met with Brown three times while researching Robertson. Three times he told us not to worry about her credentials. Three times he assured us there was nothing to see. Three times he was wrong.

 

We hoped an adult would shoulder the responsibility of truly examining Robertson’s credentials. When the superintendent did not take charge, we knew it was our duty as journalists to pursue the story.

 

Our story published on March 31 and Brown was quick to dispute it. The next day, The Morning Sun published online a story headlined, “Brown refutes claims in school paper — Superintendent maintains new principal highly qualified, best candidate.”

 

He kept reassuring us and stating she would be our next principal.

 

However, the board accepted Robertson’s resignation five days later without acknowledging Brown’s support of her. With the exception of a press release from the board on April 7, the mistake has not been addressed.

 

Since then, the Board of Education has hired a private consultant to investigate what went wrong during Robertson’s hiring process, but we are concerned Brown still will not be held accountable.

 

As champions of the truth, we want our leaders to know how we really feel.

 

To merely label Robertson’s hiring as a simple mistake would be false. What happened was not an isolated error on Brown’s part, but rather his repeated disregard for the truth and the board’s lack of oversight.

 

We trusted our district leaders to follow through, but that trust was broken.

 

As students, we are taught to respect authority. When we disagree with adults, we choose to remain silent, assuming they are more knowledgeable than us.

 

But if we had not questioned authority, people would not have known the truth.

 

We did our job and need district officials to take responsibility, but the matter has been swept under the rug.

 

We ask the board for transparency, something that should have been done from the start. Right now our administrators might be trying to save face, but people want answers.

 

As Bob Woodward, one of The Washington Post reporters of the Watergate scandal, said at the WHCA dinner, “Whatever the climate, whether the media’s revered or reviled, we should and must persist.”

 

This is why we continue to persist — even now.

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