RRDHS student responds to slander written about his school.

| May 15, 2012

By Francisco Navas

I am a senior at RRDSH, and I am writing in regards to the “story” published on the environment in said school. In the first place I would like to address some basic rules of journalism that were bypassed. The story was teased on the front page as being the main story in the issue. The rules of journalism say main news stories should only go in said place. Supposing that the story is a News story then the most evident flaw that must be pointed out is the use of the first person singular nominative case personal pronoun ‘I’.  A news story (by AP rules, used more widely in the world of journalism) should not use the personal pronoun. This is an evident flaw in the quality of journalism. On the website the story is in the ‘Features News’ category.

The next evident problem is the lack of attributed quotations. Most other quotes in the story besides that by mother Malexys Morales are anonymous or said to be stated by people such as “a Venezuelan mother.” These quotes should in turn be thrown away as the possibility of the writer making them up.

Somewhere along the middle of story there is an ad hominem attack (‘personal’ in Latin), which is not recommended in the ethical guidelines of journalism. My school’s principal is said to “lack strength.” Yes, it is written in quotes, but with the set precedent of unattributed quotes who is to say this is not the writer’s opinion protected in between quotations marks?

It is necessary to point out the bad grammar and conventions. E.x  “on the one hand”/ “I thing” (should have been think). This may all be a problem with translation but as a dual language newspaper ‘Doral News’ should pride itself on having correct spelling.

Finally I would like to address the obvious exaggerations in the article. Loaded language is used, for example saying that my school is “full” of drugs and a false claim is made to the existence of gangs. I have attended Reagan all four of my high school years and can attest to the fact that there are no and never have been any gangs. Groups of friends and cliques like any other high school, yes, but not violent gangs as the story advertises. A very shocking homophobic undertone is present in one of the story’s unattributed quotes, along with more exaggeration. “Students have sex in the bathrooms, even homosexual, girls kiss publicly in the mouth, they touch each other sexually in the bathrooms, even at school doors.”

“Ronald Reagan High School: A Bluff?” should be considered yellow journalism in the style of William Randolph Hearst. Like Hearst writing led to war in Cuba in the late 1800’s, this story has lead to distress in our city. A badly written story like this may cause our school and district to lose things like the BROAD prize, because sadly many do not consider searching for the truth. Readers believe what they read. This is a tragedy. “Ronald Reagan High School: A Bluff?” is shameful Doral journalism, shameful journalism as a whole and to our wonderful city.

As a full time college-bound (going to NYU) student in the top 10% of my class who doesn’t do drugs, I am personally offended that someone or a group of people would attempt to tarnish the reputation of the institution that is Ronald Reagan/ Doral Senior High, the best school in the largest county in the United States of America.

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Other Letter to Lourdes Ubieta.

Ronald Reagan High School: A Bluff?

By Alejandro Moreno?

Class of 2012 President?

Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School

Ms. Ubieta,

In response to your recent article posted in the Doral News and the radio program hosted by you on Actualidad 1020 I would like to share with you my sincere shock and utter concern over the accusations and allegations made by you.

To start off, I would like to state that as the Class President of the Graduating Class of 2012 of Reagan/Doral Senior High for all four years of my high school career I can personally testify to the quality of education, security, and care that is given to each and every student at my school. Reagan/Doral is without a doubt one, if not the safest, school in all of the Miami-Dade Public School System. Each and every one of the teachers, faculty, staff, and administrators takes the care of every student with the highest level of safety and professionalism, and none of them deserve to be characterized as anything but that.

As far as the rampant drug use and sale that is allegedly going on school property, there can be nothing that is further from the truth. The very moment that any school employee hears or suspects of an issue of violence, theft, drug use, or sexual activity, no matter who the perpetrators are, they immediately report it to the Administration who deals with it according to the Miami-Dade County Public School’s Code of Student Conduct as is their duty to do so. If you happen to have an issue with the way that the Code of Student Conduct is written then that is an issue that you must take up with the Miami-Dade School Board instead of going after particular individuals and attacking them personally as you have done in your article. You go to great lengths to ridicule the employee’s of the school when you state that they are waiting for “permission” to give a statement about the situation at hand; well let me tell you how things work in this country, because you obviously do not seem to understand: As an employee of the School Board they must clear any public message with their superiors at the County level in order to cover all of their bases. Again, if you have an issue with this, I implore you to take it up with the School Board but do not blame my school for problems that it is not at fault for.

I was also aghast as I read your article and listened to the radio program due to the lack of professional and journalistic ethic shown by you in your reporting. I do not even know if it can be considered journalism. As a journalist in my own nature, having been a part of my school’s award-winning Tatanka Yearbook staff for the past three years, I was taught by my Journalism teacher in ninth grade that journalism has to have good taste, meaning that you do not write or report anything with a malicious intent or seek to destroy certain individuals personally, much less if what you are citing as facts are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated. Before you published your article you should have thoroughly researched and investigated the claims you make because they are very damaging indeed and must not be taken lightly. The lack of more than one cited claim against the school clearly shows a sincere disrespect for the truth and a strong bias against it, none of which there is a place for in the realm of real journalism. It was a substantial mistake on your behalf to have not taken the responsibility to have investigated your claims and have taken the time to interview any other student at my school to have at least tried to have presented an objective report. I hope you know that in your quest to defame my school you have only ridiculized and discredited yourself due to the very sensationalism and yellow journalism which you have presented! Particularly, I found it nauseating and horrifying the sarcastic way in which you refer to the school’s high academic ratings and the efforts which the Administration makes. I challenge you to take a single step into my school to see just how clean it is, or just how many students can say that they feel totally safe in it, or just glance at the caliber of education and learning that takes place in it, or just count the immeasurable hours and effort which all employees take to ensure that these students become successful, responsible, global-minded adults; because you most certainly did not take into account any of that when you decided to slander against my school.

This unprovoked attack on Reagan/Doral Senior High School has the potential to destroy the dreams and hopes which this year’s and subsequent, graduating classes have worked to very hard to achieve. If your aim was to go after the school’s Administration then you have gone far beyond that and rather have managed to deliver a kick in the gut to the many students who have devoted their entire careers, and many their entire lives, to the betterment of their school and of the City of Doral. There is no forgiving you for having put the scholarships and college acceptances of these students in jeopardy do to your own bitter defamation of a school which has only proved to be of the very highest quality! Again, as Class President I take this to be a personal insult against my own hard work and accomplishments within my school. As a student who quite possibly spends more time in school than in my own home I can attest to the safety of the school at all times. Furthermore, for the past three years I have participated as my school’s Ambassador to the County-wide “I Speak My Peace Non-Violence Summit” and as such have led a safety presentation in which members of the local community, students, parents, and teachers have all participated in. If there has been one thing that I learned from the County-led trainings by Miami-Dade Public School’s Crisis Management Team is that Reagan/Doral has and continues to be among the safest places that a student can call home.

I adamantly request that you publicly apologize to my school, its students, faculty, and administration, and the local community for the outrage and concern that you have caused in a manner equal to that which you so very eagerly besmirched it. I shall also call upon all my fellow peers, their parents, family, and all known associates of them to stop patronizing any and all businesses which advertise in any publication, whether it be print or radio, which you are associated with because they should not want to be affiliated with someone of such low journalistic standards, or the publication which endorses it and circulates it.

I encourage you to contact me so that I may gladly testify for the wonder and treasure that Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School really is!

Pictures of the protest:  FACEBOOK:DORAL FAMILY JOURNAL

 

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Comments (2)

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  1. Mariana Suarez says:

    I graduated from Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School two years ago, I myself was deeply disturbed after having read the article slandering my high school. I no longer live in Doral but I can attest to what has been written above and agree with the fact that Reagan/Doral Senior High School was a beacon of light, what I learned there I will always be thankful for and I too take the article Ms. Ubieta wrote as a personal insult. Shame on you for putting these graduating and future graduating students careers on the line, I myself was once there and I can tell you how stressful it is without the added pressure of having articles published tarnishing my school’s reputation. My friends and family will boycott any and all businesses which advertise in any publication, whether it be print or radio, which Ms. Ubieta is associated with.

  2. Robert Van Name says:

    Ronald Reagan Doral Senior High School is a great “A” Rated school with a wonderful Staff and student body. Recent reports of problems at the school are grossly overstated! Those who exaggerate the facts and only want to sensationalize to sell newspapers at the expense of the school’s reputation should be ashamed of themselves!!! Hold your head up high RRDHS, the community is with you

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