Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The JHS Dropbox scandal and the secret I have never told anyone

There is a secret I have never told anyone, at least according to one of the people who commented on a  post last night.

The comment appeared to be in response to my post about the situation with Joplin High School students and a Dropbox server filled with naked photos, but it was left on a post from a few days about my health.

The secret- I used to teach in the Joplin R-8 School District and C. J. Huff fired me.

I am sorry, readers. I don't know why I have never written anything about that; it must have slipped my mind.

This reader thought that I should accompany everything I write about the school district with a disclaimer.

That is not going to happen. My readers are fully aware of the rather public way in which I was fired and new readers become aware of it quickly. The investigative reports I have made on the school district have held up over two years. If someone wants to believe that everything I write about C. J. Huff is a lie, there is nothing I can do about it, nor do I care to waste my time trying.

The readers who have been open-minded, while they may not always agree with my take on some of the events that have occurred, know that I put a lot of work into finding sources, both human and in documents, before I post anything.

And that being said, they also know that when I make an error, I admit it- There had been no arrests made in connection with the JHS Dropbox scandal when I made my initial post Tuesday night. Some of my ever-present critics were howling with glee when the Joplin Police Department and Principal Kerry Sachetta issued statements that contradicted my story. They jumped all over my sources and made fun of them.

My sources did not steer me wrong. They gave me solid information and it came from approximately three dozen of them. I am the one who took that solid information and did something I try to avoid- I made an unwarranted leap from what I knew to what made sense to me, but which I did not know to a certainty.

At this point, the rest of the information on the post continues to be confirmed though, for the most part, each bit of information appears to be being unveiled slowly by the official sources. I don't help myself or the Turner Report when I make mistakes, but I would do more damage to the blog if I followed the approach of many in public life and never admitted when I was wrong.

The original post will be amended with a statement showing that I made the mistake and have corrected it.

Thoughts about the traditional media and perceived bias against the Joplin R-8 School District

I was amused last night by how many people on Facebook refused to believe anything about the Dropbox situation until it had been confirmed by the traditional media. Is it any wonder that people like Bruce Speck, David Wallace, and C. J. Huff have managed to flourish in Joplin?

There also seems to be an undercurrent out there that the only reason I wrote the story was to "get" back at the Joplin School District.

I do not look at this story as an attack on the school district. It is a sad, sad occurrence that is happening more and more often in this technological age. It is easy for people to make a stupid mistake and keep paying for it forever. And it is also a wake up call for any parents who might not realize the things that are going on in today's youth culture and to any student who does not fully understand the consequences that a fleeting action can have on their lives.

I have seen a lot of comments blaming this on the school district and on C. J. Huff. I don't see how you can pin this on either. Students have technology at their beck and call with their laptops, but it appears much of what took place was on their ever-present cellphones. Teachers and administrators fought to keep cellphones in the lockers, but that was given up a few years ago. It was not because of the students' defiance, but protests from parents who wanted to be able to text their children even during class and did not want to go through the hassle of calling the office if they wanted to contact their children.

Many parents chose convenience over education in that instance,  If we are going to make that choice as a society, we need to come up with a better plan to deal with the consequences and prevent this kind of thing from happening.


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice job of not saying, "I apologize."

Randy said...

I doubt seriously that there is anything that I could have written that would have satisfied you. I admitted I was wrong, if you want me to jump up and shout to my critics "You were right about me all along," you are condemned to a life of disappointment.

Anonymous said...

What exactly does he have to "apologize" for? The story he broke is true. Where there arrests? No. Did he say that there HAD been arrests? In a journalistic way, no he did not. He made the distinction of saying that there had "reportedly" been arrests. Go troll somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

If you were really trying to get back at anyone, one supposes you could share info about some of the students involved - or, better yet, their parents.

And yet none of that has (or will, I expect) come into play because you have solid journalism ethics.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I knew you had been fired. I believe most people in Joplin knew you were fired unless they were living under a rock or in a psychedelic funk from there CJ Huff rose colored glasses. I never thought about people outside of Joplin.

Anonymous said...

Randy, some of us do not consider you as being wrong about what you reported.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the GREAT work, Randy! Haters gonna hate! You have integrity and class. Many depend on you for the real news. Even the haters know you are the real deal!

Anonymous said...

*Were* I caught it after I posted. Oops.

Anonymous said...

This is Missouri. The 'Show Me State'. That being said, if you are waiting on the local media to 'show you', you will wait a long time. Mr. Turner says what they won't say. I have to agree with an earlier comment "Troll somewhere else".

Now I want to know, is it true that the Principal's daughter was one of the ones involved and is this why there were no arrests?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a C.J. Huff lover by any means. But you expect and demand people to go the extra mile when they are wrong. Yes, you said, "reportedly." But that does not make it accurate. And you "assumed" which is the first No-No of journalism. This is a tragic story and you did right in reporting it. You just didn't go the extra mile to make sure your sources were correct.

Anonymous said...

See 1:10? That is what I'm talking about and the problem with social media. You openly asked about a rumor that could or could not be true. But since you put it in the open, you have already branded the principal's daughter and the principal. Rumors hurt, true or false.

Anonymous said...

Randy - as a fellow journalist and educator, I have to applaud your courage. Thanks for reporting on the inadequacies and the foibles of the Joplin School District admins. Without your tireless work on this and other issues, there would not be sunshine on these issues.
Don't listen to the naysayers. You obviously are touching on nerves or they wouldn't holler.

Tommy Walkinshaw said...

Believe it or not no one needs to know who is in the pictures but the parents and law enforcement! This is not the Hollywood minute with nude celebrities! These are minors who are in high school! Anybody who has a interest in using these pictures against someone or just to expose someone needs there head examined! And should think real hard about what is they are asking for. Do you have children? If so if your child's picture was one of the alleged pictures would you want it spread all over the place that your daughter was one of the nude pictures get a life! The show me state!!

Anonymous said...

So the ONLY thing that was not 100% correct was the arrests? And THAT was correctly reported as reportedly, otherwise known as allegedly, and you're STILL not satisfied? Wow.

Anonymous said...

Wow! KOAM just did a piece on this and said that while some interviews have been done, no detectives are involved and they're still trying to determine if any crime has been committed.

Sherry Cole said...

Randy Turner is the most honest reporter I have ever read. He is equal to John Hacker, editor Carthage Press. Don't you realize that if a reporter lies he or she can be sued for slander. Have you seen anyone sue him yet? What does that tell you?

Randy said...

Sherry, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but in 1998, a $750 million libel suit was filed against me in federal court by a man named Terry Reed, for a column I wrote on the opinion page. I wasn't alone. Reed also sued Rep. Mark Elliott, the Jasper County Commission, the Carthage Press, and the Kansas City Star, among others. I wrote about that lawsuit in my book, Newspaper Days. The lawsuit was dismissed in May 1999.

Randy said...

And thanks for the kind words, Sherry. They are much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for most everything you write , a lot about the school district & Cj Huff most of us parents would not know if it wasn't for you. I don't see the big deal in a mistake being made , SEVERAL others on social media made the same mistake , SEVERAL children went home & told parents they seen kids being arrested , myself as well as others still believe there are in fact still more to the story. Keep doing a Great Job Randy :)

Anonymous said...

You're doing good things, Randy. None of us would know what was going on if you didn't keep the pipeline flowing.

Keep doing the needful.

-an expatriate

Cheyla Burkett said...

He went the extra mile to correct his mistake and publicly admit to it. How many journalists out there have the courage to acknowledge a minor inaccuracy?

Anonymous said...

I have a question, if you don't mind, is there any way to know if any teachers or administration officials had the "code"?

Randy said...

Whether there is a way to know or not, I don't know, but I haven't come across any information.

Anonymous said...

I normally don't call people out in comments, but 2:47 Tommy Walkinshaw should probably post anonymously rather than leave a link to his Goole Plus page. Yikes buddy! By the looks of things, he knows a lot about nude photos.

Anonymous said...

You would have expended less energy by simply noting which job you weren't fired from, and/or a job you were fired from where you take personal responsibility for your firing instead of blaming someone else.

Anonymous said...

http://www.koamtv.com/story/21220367/joplin-schools-tech-employee-arrested-for-furnishing-obscene-material-to-a-minor

Anonymous said...

http://m.joplinglobe.com/news/local_news/joplin-school-board-terminates-randy-turner-s-teaching-contract/article_e2eb7cc3-3b56-525f-a632-83b897d255cf.html?mode=jqm

Anonymous said...

If you were a better troll you would be better informed. What you just wrote isn't very intelligent.

Tommy Walkinshaw said...

Yes and I also know a lot about not being chicken s%#t and hiding behind a anonymous post! especially when I call some one out!