Editorial, Issue 4 — Volume CVIV

Embrace Controversy

In the previous issue of “The Weekly,” we published an article written by senior Andy Wessman titled “Why I Quit the Basketball Team.” Wessman describes his experience with Parker’s former Varsity coach, recounting multiple instances in which he used homophobic and sexist language while talking to players. In the days following the newspaper’s distribution, the Athletic Department announced that the coach would not return for the upcoming season. 

“Why I Quit the Basketball Team” was upsetting to many members of the community, including those criticized in the article, players who support their coach, and readers appalled by Wessman’s story. However, “The Weekly” sees itself as a reinforcement of the importance and power of student journalism to confront issues within the school.

Before writing the article, Wessman brought his concerns about the coach to the Athletic Department. and other players on the Basketball Team had also done so. At one point, the majority of players even signed a petition, collectively requesting to replace the coach. Parker publicly addressed his Embrace Controversy severely inappropriate behavior when the situation was presented to the entire school, leveraging pressure on the Athletic Department. 

This pressure caused the school to carry out a solution that it believed readers would see as a reasonable, critical response. While “The Weekly” isn’t commenting on the coach’s departure, we would like to acknowledge that the article contributed to change within the community — leaders attempted to better align our reality to the one stipulated by our mission. 

We value the ideals — empathy, responsibility, courage — that are framed and hung in dozens of rooms in the building, that are theoretically the backbone of the school. As citizens and journalists, then, it is our duty to call attention to deviations from our mission, not out of disdain or anger, but out of hope that such deviations can be rectified. Without publicity, issues can be quietly disregarded and remain unresolved, slowly eroding Parker’s moral foundation. 

Articles on controversial subjects often criticize members of the community, and we recognize the pain they can cause. The justification, though, is that Parker’s mission is so much larger than individual reputations — especially those of administrators, whose high platforms warrant a reasonable amount of scrutiny. Such scrutiny is necessary to identify and address problems within the school. 

“The Weekly” takes substantial measures to ensure that our reporting is fair and accurate. Writers confirm their quotes with interviewees and objectively consider their subject from multiple angles to capture a varied set of perspectives. Multiple editors review each article before it’s published. In obligation to the truth, though, we do not omit pieces of stories that could portray people negatively — the community deserves the full account. 

While it may be difficult to accept, “The Weekly” acts in the best interest of the school—not of its individuals, but of the possibility of what Parker could be. We urge readers to embrace controversial articles with an open mind and to engage in critical dialogue about the ways we can bring our mission to reality.