This past May, The UltraViolet published a feature examining the differences between how Marlborough and one Catholic school in LA teach sex-ed. This other school encourages students to remain abstinent or advises using the pulling out or rhythm methods as contraception, policies that are representative of and consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Over the summer, the article reached the other school and created turmoil within their community, especially among teachers and parents. Although the Marlborough administration agreed that our article was entirely factual and well-researched, this public discussion of how the other school’s students are not being taught how to use condoms led some in their community to believe our reporting was a malicious, unfairly biased attack. In response, the School asked The UV to take the article off of our website to preserve the congenial relationship between our two schools. We resisted the request, but the School made the final decision for us and we had to take the article down.
We respectfully disagree with this decision. While we understand that maintaining our friendship with this other school is important, being forced to take down an entirely truthful article because our honesty stepped on some toes and generated a frank discussion goes against our ethics as journalists. Journalism seeks to spread the truth and shine a light on differences of opinion in the hopes of fostering discussion and
creating change. Our article did just that. We feel that the article’s truth made it all the more important that it remain on our website to be read.
In addition, we feel that if people can no longer read the article, they will be all the more likely to misconstrue or spread rumors about its contents. Taking the article down also implies that we did not represent the truth. Therefore, we worry that people who hear word of these events will assume that we did something wrong in the reporting process, but the School’s administration agrees that we did not do anything wrong.
Furthermore, being forced to take down the article sets a dangerous precedent. It goes against our values to take down an honest, balanced article simply because we are putting personal relationships above integrity. We feel that it is our responsibility to stand by what we have reported on, even if some people are unhappy with it, and we hope that the administration will not put us in this situation again.