As the parent of a child enrolled at Charles Barrett Elementary School and recreation center, I was surprised and disappointed by the Times coverage of the charges against Charles Barrett Recreation Center Director Robert Gordon (City employee convicted of assaulting child, June 9, 2011). The Times coverage exhibited a hangem high attitude that the record, and Mr. Gordon, does not merit.
Mr. Gordon is a trusted and highly respected public servant, and many in the Barrett community are convinced that his arrest and the subsequent proceedings may have been defensively and inappropriately motivated by adults seeking to prevent the deserved punishment of their child who unapologetically provoked Mr. Gordons actions.
First, the Times afforded front-page, full-color coverage to a matter that involved no malicious intent on Mr. Gordons part.
Second, the Times story ignored Mr. Gordons long and recognized history working with children at the center and in other city positions.
Third, the Times owner and editorial page editor published a QuickTakes item declaring, without support, that Mr. Gordon should never work with children again. This is diametrically inconsistent with a long record that the Times ignored.
Fourth, the Times devoted its weekly poll to the matter. The only choices are, one, guilty, or two, close enough to guilty.
Fifth, the Times expended literally only one single column-inch on reporting the factual background that led to the assault.
Sixth, the Times did not see it fit to gather the views of other Barrett school and center parents as to Mr. Gordon generally, nor as to this specific incident.
The charges against Mr. Gordon are highly controversial within the Barrett community, and there is no consensus in support of them. It is believed by many Barrett parents that the elevation of this matter to the level of formal charges was not merited. The Times is one of a very few widely circulated local news outlets; it owes its readers better than this superficial and misleading coverage.