Thursday, October 22, 2009
On September 29th, I posted an article called "Public School Library Propagates Falsehood that Governor Palin Banned Books." Last Friday, I posted "Update to Public School Library Propagates Falsehood that Governor Palin Banned Books." I went step by step and day by day through my battle to correct the record and emphatically declare that Sarah Palin never, ever banned any books. At that point, I was turning it over to the public who had voiced a desire to step in and hold the school accountable. No longer was I going to stand between anyone and their efforts to see this wrong corrected, which I had done while I attempted to right this wrong.
I am not sure who, if anyone, actually contacted the school to voice their concerns. However, I do know that after fighting this battle since late September and receiving no responses at all last week, I received an email Monday afternoon from the high school principal asking me to call his assistant to set up yet another meeting.
We met yesterday, and I was asked again what I was seeking. I expressed that I had not changed my mind; I wanted the retraction. I was told that the library display window is seasonal, and something else is already occupying the space. I was also told that if Governor Palin were a current candidate, they would seek to correct the wrong. Since she's not, basically it's no big deal. I don't know about you, but common sense tells me that most of us will never be candidates for anything. Does that mean people can lie about us without repercussions, simply because our names are not on a ballot? That makes no sense, and I expressed as much.
Finally, without a word, the principal went to his computer, began typing, and printed out a piece of paper with the retraction. He was going to run it by the superintendent, and if approved, it would be posted.
Today it was posted.
Perhaps I should feel a sense of victory, but I feel a gnawing annoyance. Why is that?
First, only the superintendent seemed to get the fact that displaying the original poster was the wrong move and that it should have come down the first time I asked. It was indeed a lie designed to express a political agenda at the expense of the truth that we should be providing our students. Even yesterday, when he asked to see the truthful articles that I had with me, the principal tried to defend the original display's content.
Some kind of acknowledgement that this kind of thing was ill-willed, unacceptable, and would never happen again was in order--if for no other reason than in a school truth ought to count. Instead, I sensed a desire to simply shut me up somehow because it had become painfully clear that the issue was not going away. It was sort of a "Will this make you happy?" kind of move.
Second, he printed the retraction on a little piece of paper posted in the lower right-hand corner of the small library window--not the main display section where the incorrect information had been displayed. The paper can barely be spotted and is in front of some ghost cut-outs that had, I assume, been previously hung up. (This is part of the seasonal display?) There is no article posted, only a note at the bottom of the sheet that directs people to the library desk if they want to pick up an article about what the paper says: "SARAH PALIN NEVER BANNED BOOKS." Of course, they'd have to first spot the paper before they can actually inquire about it.
I don't like how it all unfolded. However, I know I should see the miniature retraction as some sort of small victory. While it is a pitiful attempt to rectify the situation, it does do something. If nothing else, I know I held people accountable to the truth, I looked out for our students' best interest, and I defended Governor Palin, who deserves to be defended against malicious smears. The smears of the mainstream media and anklebiters are bad enough, but a public school is certainly a place where her record--and everyone else's--ought to be safe from lies.
To Kill a Mockingbird, in my opinion, is the greatest piece of literature ever written, and I was reminded of this masterpiece today. I take some comfort in the words of Maudie Atkinson who tells Jem, after Atticus defends Tom Robinson in court, "And I said to myself, 'it's a step. It's just a baby-step, but it's step.'"
Below are pictures. The last one is the main window, where the original misinformation was posted, and where the truth ought to hang: