The headline to our cover story last week about the February 11 meeting of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board was “Board Approved Preliminary Budget, Then Things Got Weird.” Several readers interpreted “things got weird” as a reference to the effort by a community member named “Peter” to read a victim impact statement from a WSSD student who experienced sexual violence. That was not our intent.
What we found “weird” was the board’s suppression of Peter’s reading. Without explanation, the audio feed was silenced for the cable broadcast, which was the platform on which we and other WSSD residents watched the meeting. Board president Marylin Huff later explained that the muting was done to protect the identity of minors.
When the video was made available for streaming days later at https://www.wssd.org/Page/4189, it was apparent that Peter had been prevented from reading the statement at all, officially because he rose during a public comment period which is limited to “response to any other topics” before the board at that meeting.
We regret that the headline was unintentionally misleading, and struck the wrong tone for some readers. We did not, and would never, use the word weird to impute a negative connotation to anyone’s desire to make a public statement, especially one about the damaging effects of sexual assault.
— Chris Reynolds, Editor