Dear Editor:

What is the role of our public schools? To educate children while protecting them.

What is the role of the press? To monitor government and inform the people when officials overstep.

Unfortunately, modern journalism, nationally and locally, has deteriorated. They cherry-pick only the portion of a story they want you to see. The result? Indoctrination through misinformation.

Case in point: On Dec. 17, the City of Salida released an independent report analyzing the events of the Salida High School lockdown on Sept. 23 (drive.google.com/file/d/1zVRu6RlntJV-fqWXNVhzOKE6wcG_XNZV/view). The report seemed fair, finding fault in the actions and procedures taken on all sides. Three of our local news outlets published stories about this report. None of them highlighted a crucial event that occurred three weeks before the lockdown, as described on page 8 of the report:

“During the first week of school in 2021 an incident was reported by a parent to Salida High administration regarding their child. The parent wanted to pursue criminal charges based on an assault that occurred. Salida High reported to the parent that Salida PD was not pursuing criminal charges, but Salida PD was not notified of the incident. According to Lieutenant Blades and Officer Meseke, Principal Trujillo referred the case directly to Full Circle Restorative Justice. The parent contacted the school SRO to discuss Salida PD’s decision to not pursue criminal charges, which prompted a meeting between Chief Russell Johnson and Salida High administration. Ultimately, the case was investigated and resulted in felony charges for a suspect that was involved.”

What does this paragraph from the report tell us?

1. Principal Trujillo told the parent of an apparent assault victim that the police were not pursuing charges. Trujillo omitted crucial information: He never informed Salida Police of the incident.

2. After bypassing the criminal justice system completely, Principal Trujillo referred the case to Full Circle Restorative Justice, where he serves on the board of directors.

3. The bad blood between Principal Trujillo and the Salida Police Department predated the Sept. 23 lockdown by several weeks.

4. The details of the assault were serious enough to result in felony charges.

Who was looking out for the assaulted student? Certainly not Principal Trujillo. His job is to protect all students, not just the troubled or violent. Instead, he lies to parents and police while blindly enacting his own ideological agenda.

How could these events have been kept secret, especially after the Sept. 23 lockdown, and during a school board election? The Salida School District abuses its power and intentionally hides its own actions. Why do this if they are in the right? And where was the Salida school board during these events? Spectating, not leading.

Our school officials are chronically deceitful, and our biased local media allows them to get away with it. A parent seeking justice was forced to stand alone against the school district. All parents should be demanding accountability. Whose child will be the victim of the next institutional cover-up?

Nancy Dominick, Salida