Smells Like Teen Spirit
IMAGINE LIVING IN a society, however small, in which other members always agreed with your own perceptions and, more importantly, your own high opinions of yourself.
Of course, to outsiders, you and your like-minded associates could easily appear to be a gaggle of snooty, self-deluded fools; but that would matter little, since, by definition, they would be a bunch of wrong-thinking, envious, evil asshole outsiders. And because they had not agreed to follow your rules, their opinions would be worthless and contemptible. Their criticisms would serve only to heighten your group's closely held sense of superiority and specialness.
It's not so hard to imagine--such are the conditions in which many of us human beings find ourselves from time to time. That's because, as a species, we have a strong need to belong, an inherent proclivity for group loyalty. Perhaps it springs from some ancestral inclination to hunt in packs; or perhaps God, in His infinite wisdom, just thought it would be a cool quality for Adam to posses. Then again, maybe it's simply a result of mankind's fall from grace, if you believe that sort of crap.
Regardless of the cause of our talent for groupthink, what strikes us about the outpouring of angry, whining, holier-than-thou, our-shit-don't-stink, finger-pointing, obsfucating, you're-a-prick letters (and phone calls, dozens and dozens of phone calls) in light of our recent coverage of events regarding attorney Joe Machado's ill-fated party, is the sheer vitality of the denial they reveal among some members of the "Salpointe community."
Excuse us, but you Salpointe people seem to have a problem. Several of them, to be precise.
We published three stories which pointed out those problems ("It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards," Tucson Weekly, February 5; "Jesus H. Christ!," February 12), and some of you chose to attack us. Hey, we're used to it. But some of you also chose to vandalize the house and property of the writer, to threaten her children and the safety of her person. We're told the principal of your school called her a jealous, ignorant woman, or words to that effect, over the school's public address system.
How amusingly cliquish.
But don't fret: We have no intention of billing for the service we've inadvertently performed, namely that of strengthening your in-group cohesion. You may, however, rest assured you'll pay a stiff price indeed if you continue to ignore the basic messages in our coverage of you. While we've never put much stock in that talk of a "Salpointe curse"--until now, that is--there is such a thing as karma in this universe, and it will undoubtedly bite you on the ass one day soon, if it hasn't already.
At any rate, we've tried to print as many Salpointe letters as we could this time around--we'll print more next week. We know you Salpointe folks will find them to be nothing less than sterling examples of erudition and scholarship; and being products of the inferior public schools ourselves, we felt unworthy to muck up the bulk of them with our usual crappy editing.
To the Editor,
The most important quality of any learning institution is its reputation. Many times the only difference between the best school and the average one is the rating and reputation which it enjoys. That's why Salpointe has been having such a hard time dealing with the present turmoil it's currently faced with. As a Salpointe alumnus, I know exactly how obsessively headstrong the school's supporters can be. They want their kids to be perfect, and they have the money to make sure of it. Like any business in this country, Salpointe revolves around money--nobody ever said the Catholics were above capitalism. I would say "pray for Salpointe," but "God" and Salpointe now seem too contradictive.
I'd like to start by saying that I did enjoy Salpointe. These comments are not made out of malice, but merely anger at the denials and lies this school has been forking out. Vicki Hart was for the most part right on target with her comments about the ethical posture of our Catholic friends. These are not good Christians, these are not moral pillars of our society, these are ruthless businessmen, protecting one of the oldest and most powerful social clubs in Tucson.
I reiterate the fact that I, for the most part, enjoyed the school; and that this comment is not written out of malice, but to at least give some substance to Mrs. Hart's controversial article. Had I still been a student at the school, I most likely would have joined the bandwagon and Salmon Rushdie'ed Mrs. Hart along with the rest of the students. Being out of Salpointe has given me the opportunity to become a little more objective about the structure of the school. I find it extremely amusing that these students get so worked up about things they otherwise would brag about. We had a joke about Salpointe while I was there: There is only one school in Tucson with more drugs than Salpointe, because that school has more money and bigger lockers. Students actually saw this as a source of pride. But that was only within the walls.
Outside, Salpointe carries the mentality that "the world will only see what I show it " You do not want to believe your school has problems--that it may not be the best--that it may not be the most respected. By the time students graduate from Salpointe, they've heard how great the school is so many times--how great they are for going there and graduating, how they are the cream of Tucson--that they start to believe it. It's a pedestal, the school makes a student feel like he's at Harvard, while everyone else in Tucson is at ITT Tech.
So please let me state a few facts:
So as not to sound like a bitter, rampaging ex-student, I'd like to include my suggestions for remaking Salpointe into the powerhouse it pretends to be:
I would like to close this overly long look at Salpointe with this:
Salpointe was a good school, and it still is. While there, I was well accepted by the students, faculty and administrators--but I saw that there were things wrong. I graduated in the spring of '95, and the same problems were facing Salpointe. Three years later, nothing has changed. I'm sick of seeing Salpointe whine and cry and deny and lie. As much as I do not want to see my school go down with bad press, I also do not want to see it go down because a bunch of unchecked, hedonistic, rich, snobby brats do whatever makes them feel good.
You'd think good Catholics would agree with me; instead, some are quick to deny it, and deny the truth. I always thought I would love my school no matter what--but I do not love Salpointe right now. I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed because of what they've done to Vicki Hart; I'm embarrassed because of what they've done to themselves; I'm embarrassed because of what they've done to the name of God. Oh Salpointe, who hast Thou forsaken?
--Call Me Luther
To the Editor,
Congratulations--my family wondered how far your trashy paper would go. Your diatribe seems in true character since at least one half of the print is pure pornographic and unfit for a family home.
You've vilified a family, his livelihood, his home, family and well-being--not bad for the rag who has more four-letter crap than any paper in the state. And Max Canon your cartoonist?
As for Vicki Hart, I'm one very proud Christian grandmother of not one, but two students for the high scholastic moral school who still believes in moral, Christian education.
It is our constitutional "under GOD" right.
Who didn't make the cut, grades, etc., for the entrance into "Lancer" country?
In the future, the Tucson Weekly will no longer exist--belongs in a Marana outhouse.
To the Editor,
Vicki Hart writes, "...because Salpointe is a private school, administrators have the power to oust misbehaving students. But no one seems to be able to explain why they don't."
Personally, I think that is a great idea. To solve the problem, expel it. Hey, if a girl comes to school pregnant, expel her. She misbehaved. If a student is caught smoking marijuana, expel him. He misbehaved. If a varsity football player is caught drinking, expel him. It may ruin his football career, but at least it will teach him a lesson. And, we will have saved him from becoming a lush.
Okay, being a Salpointe graduate and a former member of the Salpointe newspaper staff I admit to a bit of bias. However, I do not claim that Salpointe students are angels, nor should their behavior be excused for any reason. I was quite pleased, in fact, to discover that some students were actually caught and punished for such stupidity.
The point is this: Neither Catholicism nor the ability to expel students who misbehave can completely eradicate such social ills any more than education or rehabilitation can. I suppose I tread on some toes with that statement, but the fact remains that there is no cure-all.
Here is the proof. Salpointe students are among some of the most well-educated high school students on the topics of sex, drugs and even rock and roll. But, substance abuse continues to be a problem. And, anyone knows that rehabilitation only works if the substance abuser is willing to be rehabilitated.
Maybe expelling the "misbehaving students" is the only option. Then the question would be: Why doesn't Salpointe expel their "misbehaving students?" Problems have a nasty way of finding you even when you try to expel them.
So, what can be done? The best solution that I can think of is to keep publicly embarrassing wealthy, prominent members of the Salpointe community who seem to think that it is okay break the law for whatever reason. I can guarantee that if there is one thing the Salpointe community and others like it hate, it is public embarrassment. And, I can guarantee that Joe Machado is not going to have another drinking party for his son. Ever.
To the Editor,
I am currently attending Salpointe Catholic High School as a junior. I just happened to be reading "It's Party Time" (Tucson Weekly, February 5) and couldn't help but notice your paper giving all of the students at Salpointe a bad name.
Now, I do not know about the facts that are involved with the party that took place on May 18, I have never even heard of problems between the basketball and football players, and I'm not saying that these incidents never took place, but your stories have been written out in such a way that the entire Salpointe community has been given a bad name. It might be true that there are certain students that attend Salpointe that do not exactly have it all together, such as the "football players" and the "spoiled boozing teens," but they do not make up the entire population. Salpointe is a school that for years has prided itself in producing successful, caring and intelligent students. The majority of the students that attend Salpointe actually have respectable goals and ambitions, and this is what leads me to believe that Vicki Hart wrote this article out of anger and jealousy, rather than with the intention of informing the public of an interesting situation.
I would totally respect the article if you would have told people about the party and the incidents involving the athletes had you not used it as a personal way to vent your anger. Tell me this, out of all of these incidents that occurred, what made you think that they were spoiled? I don't know, was it the time when the teen asked for another breathalyzer test? Yeah, you're right, that little s_ _t was spoiled. Or how about the time that kid was thrown against a wall by a police officer? Hmm. But then again, there is always the time that those big ole football players let their egos get to them, and that never happens to the football players at other schools right.
The truth of the matter is that these young students went to a party, just like the students at Tucson High, Pueblo, Sabino, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, etc. do. It is a part of today's society for teenagers to go to parties. Every teen is going to experiment with alcohol. And although you make it seem to the entire Tucson community that the students coming out of Salpointe are fuck-ups by saying that parents complain of this and parents complain of that, it actually opened up my eyes to something. The reason that parents complain and administrators don't expel everyone over one incident is because they care about us. They know that everyone makes mistakes and they are trying to help us become reasonable adults. And as for the parent's part, it just shows how much they care for us because they are asking us what is going on in our life, and are trying to teach us how to be as good as we can, whereas at other schools they just don't give a damn. We, the Salpointe students should, and are thankful for our parents and our administrators for they are making us better people. And, under any circumstances, we will not let a silly little article, written out of jealousy and anger for lack of attention and missed opportunities when you were younger, take us down. We are too good for that. We will only thrive off of this article and these incidents. We have learned how to deal with certain situations and that is the best thing that we could gain from school. That is what our school has taught us. That is what makes us stand out above the rest.
To the Editor,
Concerning Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): Where do I begin? The "Party Time" story seems to be an attempt to put the words "fuck" and "Salpointe Catholic High School" as many times as possible in the same story. Bravo...you did it!
Regarding the "Twisted Standards" story: Wow! Sounds like somebody has a real ax to grind. I'm not sure who the writer is out to get, "rich" kids, football players, cheerleaders, Salpointe or just Christians? Has The Weekly become an outlet for anyone who wants to "get" somebody, sling a little mud or just plain talk bad about someone or something they don't like?
To the Editor,
Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): Alright, I just want to start off by saying the article on Salpointe was uncalled for. I'm a freshman at Salpointe, and I have been here for only a semester, but I know it isn't all true. I did not like the comments on how students are "spoiled brats," because that is so not true. Plus, not everyone is rich; I myself am not. My family has enough to pay the bills and get food, and little for luxury spending. I have friends who don't even have that, and work over the summer at Salpointe because Salpointe offers people a chance to help pay off what they can by helping out around school, and discounts for those who aren't well off. I don't think its fair to assume everyone is rich.
About the article on the party, I think that was taken overboard. You make it sound like we are the only school that has problems, but we are not! You can't blame us for not being perfect, because lets face it, there is no school that could be even close to being called that. All the schools in Tucson have problems, partys, and whatever else. Its nor fair to focuse on only ours, period. Also, students are given chances after they make a mistake at Salpointe--it's called "forgiveness." Again, not everyone is perfect either.
Oh, and one last thing: The comment on a nun at Salpointe calling a former student a traitor and not talking to him? Come on now, you're going to have to be a little more realistic then that! It wouldn't have happened, and I don't believe it did. An apology in your newsletter would be greatly appreciated.
To the Editor,
Regarding "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): I want to let you know that the article was the most ridiculous one I have ever read. Just as bad as the one's in People's magazine. It really shows what kind of paper you are and how low you have to sink in order to get readers. Newspapers are supposed to be unbiased if they are professional. Obviously, Vicki Heart did a poor job. The entire article was biased. What, did she graduate from a rival school? But then again, look who your audience is!
I just want you to know that I know that I am a graduate of Salpointe and can tell you that all schools have drugs and alcohol. It's part of high school, no matter where you go. Some school have it more that others and I fell that Salpointe is not the worst. I have been to the CDO parties and the Catalina Foothills parties. They by far are worse. Even the students who go there will tell you.
Yes, I want to the party and I can tell you that the police did nothing to even try to stop the student (or grads) from driving home. They stood out there and watched everyone walk to their cars and hold Mr. Machado in the back seat of the car. Yes, I feel that the police were forceful and went farther than normal. I have been to parties from the school mentioned above, where cops have show and they just broke it up. The police did nothing to stop the students. Plus, if you think about it, the greater majority of the students no linger want to Salpointe. They graduated, therefore they by no means should be referred to Salpointe. What can the school do about graduation parties, suspend them, I don't think so.
About all the "supposed incidents" you have no proof they even happened. You say an upset parent notified you, I don't think so. This is a teeny-bop paper. I can tell you I knew and still know a lot about Salpointe because I have younger siblings that so there, and I never herd about these incidents. I think someone may be off.
Then, when Vicki Heart said that the students were questioning their rights, they have every right to. It is their right. Part of the curriculum is to knew the American government by senior year. If no other school can say that about their students, then they are not teaching the student well. On top of that, there are many police and governmental officials that rely on the population to not be aware of their rights.
Back to the Machado party, the party was going fine. There were really no neighbors and the party was not loud. I have been to family party with more noise. Just because one outspoken student actually resist a police office does not mean the entire school is corrupt. All school have problems, but rarely do parents speak out. Salpointe parent tend to be better aware of their student education, so if something is no the way they want it, they will not be afraid to speak their mind. It's too bad that other school can't say that either. Salpointe cannot stop every student from doing bad. Yes, they are required to sign a letter saying they will not drink or do drugs but some people will not follow. On the other hand, many people do. More that half of the student population does!! I also find it hard to believe that there are student in plain view of the school smoke pot and drink. Believe me if the deans ever saw a student doing that they would be in so much trouble.
In sum, Vicki, your next article should be about the wannabe gangster at Catalina Foothills who, when school is over walk to their Benz's and BMW's and go home to million-dollar homes in La Paloma or Ventana Canyon. Or maybe in the major racial issue at CDO which cause fights all the time. And just to let you know, not all the students at Salpointe are rich brats. I had many that weren't!!
On the nun's issue, no way would one ever act in the manner you claimed they did. Go to Salpointe and you'll see what I mean.
To the Editor,
Regarding Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): At Salpointe, students are taught to accept the consequences of their choices. If people at the Machado party chose to break the law, they should graciously accept the consequences.
Hooray for responsible parents, hooray for responsible teens, hooray for the Pima County Sheriff's Department!
To the Editor,
I read the feature article on Salpointe's "spoiled brats" and as a law abiding senior at Salpointe I was truly offended. The article was not written with the journalistic ideal of pursuing the truth and it makes Salpointe seem like a school of alcoholics.
First, the Machados did have a party with booze, minors, and unconfirmed reports of marijuana. But the major reason this is a poor story is because it portrayed all Salpointe athletes as chronic drinkers. The students detained were athletes because more than 75 percent of Salpointe participates in some sort of sport so there's a good chance that any student there was an athlete.
Next, the article states that the students, "...maintain that they did nothing wrong, and they certainly don't seem to think they've managed to ruin a man's career." Machado was the owner of the house, he was the responsible party, so he should have to pay the piper. If he was truly ignorant of the drinking he must have been blind because drunk people are generally ill smelling, boisterous and their judgment is very impaired. Machado had the power in his hands. He had the ability to tell his sons "no" and to deny 200 juveniles entry onto his property. Juveniles are often irresponsible no matter what school they attend, and we all need adults to regulate our behavior when it is necessary. That was Machado's job and he failed. He ruined his own career by allowing the party to start and continue to an illegal level.
Finally, Officer Silva "suggested" that the reason Salpointe had problems was because we students have money and are more mobile than other high school students. I would love to see the original quote for that. I have been an attorney of Pima County Teen Court since its inception in January 1995. The cases regarding alcohol and marijuana ranged from rich to poor and across all races. In my experience our clients come from numerous public schools and few come from Salpointe.
With regard to the supplement story, the lead reads: "Some Salpointe High School parents complain of a different standard for athletes, cheerleaders, and 'rich' kids." Personally, I have never known of the deans excusing a certain person or group from prosecution because of their economic status. I do know of "rich" kids and athletes who have been expelled or asked to leave due to behavior or grades. People deserve their privacy but, The Weekly should have tried to contact those expelled to show how the rules and regulations of Salpointe are applied. As the statistics show, most people at Salpointe come from modest means and rich oppressing poor is very rare and is stopped once it is reported.
Regarding the phone threat, it is difficult to believe that Salpointe did nothing about it. In order to prosecute, Salpointe has to follow some kind of due process. This can be found in the Parent/Student Handbook '97-'98. It states that once there is enough evidence to confront the student that the offender will have counseling and the harassment will be reported to the authorities. Later offenses are remedied with suspension and/or expulsion. The Salpointe deans routinely pursue issues. Since it did not happen on school premises, however, it left them with little evidence to use.
The neighbors who complain about students smoking tobacco and marijuana in the residential areas surrounding Salpointe would find that theirs is not an exclusive problem. Ask any resident near a high school and they'll complain about speeding cars and smoking teenagers. Salpointe is no exception. I know this again from Teen Court, many students are arrested on school grounds at various high schools.
Finally, the issue regarding the Winter Formal complaints about drunk football players' and cheerleaders' punishment should not be given consideration. Salpointe followed their policy using the Parent/Student Handbook. This book says that the police will be notified, parents called, a five-day suspension issued, and a 10-day suspension from any sport. These steps were taken and if they repeat the offense they will be expelled. Thus, being rich or popular had nothing to do with the sentence. Most of the senior class disapproved of the students actions and we didn't complain.
The implications about letting kids off the hook by donations for a new surface on the track and computers are false and ludicrous. Salpointe receives its money from donations, its thrift shop and the P.E.A.C.E. club ( a parent organization that raises money for the school). The idea of bribing the school is ridiculous because many rich students have been expelled.
Salpointe has problems like all high schools, but it is not the exception nor is it the rule. It strives to provide a positive environment for students to develop into responsible citizens. This is not only the school's responsibility but also their parents'. I hope that you and your writers will consider addressing issues more accurately and with integrity in the future.
--Paul Carlos Ramirez
To the Editor,
We were deeply saddened to read the Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5). She seems to imply that all Salpointe students are out-of-control, spoiled brats who frequent drunken brawls. First of all, the students in her article were no longer Salpointe students. Second, nothing could be further from the truth. Salpointe prides itself in outstanding counseling and awareness programs about drugs and alcohol. Should such an incident have occurred involving Salpointe students, they would have been suspended or expelled immediately! The only justification to write such a slanted article is that Hart must have a personal vendetta against the school. So sad!
--Mike and Kathy Blicharz
To the Editor,
After reading Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5), I was moved to write and thank the police for their concern for the "welfare and safety" of my child. I would also like to thank the gentleman who reported this crime. Because of his inability to handle his own family situations, he, too, comes off as a concerned adult.
After four years of hard work and study, my child was ready for a night of fun with the friends who had worked and played beside him through high school. This work and play earned him a Regent's Scholarship, an additional $20,000 merit scholarship, National Merit finalist status, State Science Fair first-place award, a two-year stint as class president, nine sports seasons and a GPA of 4.2. Rounding out this period of his life was four years as a Sunday-school teacher.
This is the same child that concerned police "cap stunned" and claimed had injured three officers. His only true crime was being naive enough to think that he had rights. (I later explained to him that the one with the gun and the big stick has all the rights). I taught him to stick up for himself and to ask questions. Bad move on my part. I also told him that the police are there to protect us and they are our friends. No wonder kids think their parents are stupid.
Speaking of the parentally challenged, if dad was so concerned about his daughter's welfare, why didn't he just go in and get her and take her home? I am trying to imagine his thought process: "Let's see, I'm right here in front of the house...what should I do?...I could go knock on the door and ask to see my daughter...quietly we could leave and nobody would even notice...but I'm really, really mad...and I have every right to be...I think a S.W.A.T. team is called for...yea, that's what a concerned parent would do..." Bad move, Dad...maybe if you spent a little time getting to know your child, you would be aware that getting the whole school in trouble is a bad thing.
Call me an irresponsible parent, but I would much rather have the welfare and safety of my child in the hands of an educated, articulate family man who welcomes his children's friends into his home, than to the guys with the guns and the big sticks.
To the Editor,
Vicki Hart's efforts to write a vindictive story about Salpointe and its students only convinces the population of Tucson that the main purpose of your publication is to:
A) Wrap fish
B) Line garbage cans
C) Use as hillbilly toilet paper in an outhouse
The Tucson Weekly and supermarket tabloids are equivalent levels of journalism. So, you should continue with more interesting articles such as Elvis sightings, UFO abductions, etc.
I would be truly interested in your true agenda for writing such a F*&$#$D article!
P.S. Also, for a newspaper concerned with morality, the back of your paper is loaded with X-rated trash.
To the Editor,
Regarding Vicki Hart's "Jesus H. Christ" (Tucson Weekly, November 12): Hart reported a story that included some Salpointe High School students. As a result she has had to endure threats, trash thrown in her yard, egging of her property. This leads to one conclusion:
These are Christians for sure!
To the Editor,
Regarding Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): Slow news day, Vicki? Had nothing better to do than "report" on an alleged illegal party with Salpointe students and approving adults like in May 1997. Oh, please! For goodness sakes! What prompted this? Kid wasn't accepted to Salpointe Catholic High School? Someone park in front of your driveway or did you need a pay check so you did some freelance "journalism?"
Fascinating! Amazing, in fact. Let us imagine 150 to 200 students, uninvited to a party on graduation night in metropolitan Tucson, Arizona. Let's criticize the students, police and homeowners. God forbade this would never happen at CDO, Sunnyside, Tucson High, Catalina or even Palo Verde. I guess "Christians" do not attend these schools, nor do those students admit they attend illegal parties, skip school, take steroids or even get pregnant. Those parents do not have to pay tuition for their darlings to even consider partaking in these scandalous activities let alone participate in such an event. Hello! Wake up call, Ms. Hart.
Give me a break! Do not insult my intelligence again by even considering "writing" such earth-shattering material and consider being taken seriously. I just wonder if this is the highlight of your career. Ho-hum. Is this the lead into your portfolio? Let's imagine you as an adult conducting responsible "reporting" who cannot resist using "profanity" in an article about teenagers. What is the point? Needed 1,500 words?
If your point was to arouse the community of young adults you have no association with and some parents who you seem ready to attack because you "assume" (remember what that means, Vicki?) they be of means, then I guess you were successful. If you expect to be considered interesting and creative, think again. Maybe you should consider reading some good journalism...pick up a high school paper. Much more interesting, creative and above board.
Vicki, thanks for allowing me to try out my new printer and to burn off a few calories.
Great front page graphics.
Always remember, what goes around, comes around...clean off your own door step first...or whatever.
--The Brad[garbled in fax transmission] Parent
To the Editor,
Regarding Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): Way to go. I've watched the behavior of Salpointe High School students and parents at games I've attended over the years and have always been amazed at their atrocious behavior. This article is not at all surprising, because many of us in the community have watched it play out over and over again. Their reactions to this article further condemns them, and still they refuse to take a good, honest look at themselves and their behavior.
Why hide? Look at it and do something about it. Hopefully, in the end, this is what they will do.
To the Editor,
Regarding Vicki Hart's "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards" (Tucson Weekly, February 5): We are the parents of two Salpointe Catholic High School students; our son is a varsity football player and varsity wrestler and our daughter is a junior varsity soccer player. For the record, we are exceedingly pleased with the academic excellence, athletic development, moral consciousness, social awareness and personal growth which we are witnessing in our children as a result of their education at Salpointe.
We take offense at Mrs. Hart's gross generalizations, venomous innuendoes, outright fabrications and unsourced suggestions which paint a very ugly picture. She is in error. For each of her bitter stories grounded in hearsay, we can eagerly share dozens of accurate examples of respectful, honest, hard-working, caring students who are the essence of Salpointe.
As a community of students, parents faculty and administrators Salpointe strives to be a living example of Christian values on a daily basis. We may not always succeed and it is unfortunate that any...[fax garbled in transmission].
--Kay and John Sullivan
To the Editor,
We are the parents of a Salpointe Catholic High School senior who, for four years, has honored the code of morality, non-drinking or drug taking and ethics. She is a varsity cheerleader, an honor role student and active in many extra-curricular activities such as SADD. She has donated four years to the Assisteens in community service.
We take great offense to the article by Ms. Hart; it is filled with gross generalizations, scathing innuendoes, coffee-klatch gossip and hearsay. It is not necessary to defend a school with top-notch athletic scholars and community volunteers; it is necessary to defend those who are the butt of her unfounded lies.
It is unfortunate that some students at Salpointe have not shown the values they are taught. We appreciate the hundreds that do. We are a community of students, parents, educators and volunteers who have already made a huge positive impact on the community of Tucson.
--Robert and Kristine Howard
To the Editor,
As the Editor-in-Chief of The Salpointe Crusader Newsmagazine, I walk into a high school publications room every weekday and often on weekends. No matter what is on my mind as I walk through the door, there is always an underlying realization of the job to which I am committed.
My responsibility to the readers of The Crusader is not something I take lightly. I like to think things operate in a somewhat similar manner in the world of professional journalists.
However, a complete lack of journalistic ethics and a disregard for the responsibility of informing readers was demonstrated when Douglas Biggers, Tucson Weekly editor/publisher, printed two articles "It's Party Time" and "Twisted Standards?" written by Vicki Hart in the February 5-11 issue.
And now I sit here, reading Hart's February 12-17 "Jesus H. Christ," a rebuttal to alleged perpetrations and threats from Salpointe students and parents against the Hart family, and wonder what credibility lies in these words.
My favorite is her reply to calls from the Salpointe Crusader demanding to know what professional journalistic organizations The Weekly belongs to.
Answer: "A bunch. But first and foremost, we belong to that group called 'citizens,' a group whose right to free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Guess they don't teach that--or at least not well--at Salpointe."
Well, I am the accused journalist who called The Weekly editors. In fact, I called Biggers; Dan Huff, managing editor; Jim Nintzel, senior editor; and Mari Wadsworth, associate editor; none of whom returned my messages.
If they had the courtesy to return my calls, they would have discovered that the journalism program, social studies department and the English department all teach the First Amendment rights. But in addition to that, we learn responsibility for our actions: responsibility to the readers and to the laws which defend our rights as citizens.
According to the Code of Ethics as defined by the Society of Professional Journalists, "respect for the dignity, privacy, rights, and well-being of people encountered in the course of gathering and presenting the news" must be at the heart of true journalism.
Hart's writing exhibited none of these qualities. She blatantly attacked the Salpointe community on a four-page, front-cover article which allowed two mere sentences (in the third to last paragraph) to Mrs. Charlotte Harris, the only administrator mentioned in "It's Party Time."
Hart named no sources in a column that alleged the Salpointe basketball and football teams to be ferociously pitted against one another. She wrote of "out of control" athletes needing to be regulated in the school weight room, "spoiled brats at Salpointe Catholic High School," "boozing teens," and an offensive nun calling a former student a "traitor." Yet, she sited no sources or names of the parties involved.
I am fully supportive of journalists who protect their sources as Woodward and Bernstein did in the '70s. But Hart's writing does not even qualify to be mentioned in the same sentence with great reporters or true journalists. Without a shred of substantial evidence for her sidebar, Hart attempted to disparage Salpointe's reputation in front of the entire city.
However, truth lends credibility. Facts, not suppositions, are the true characteristics of the press guarded by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
"Good faith with the public is the foundation of all worthy journalism," says the Society of Professional Journalists.
As far as I am concerned, the attempt to crush Salpointe's stature backfired because of a lack of ethics and common sense and mediocre-at-best reporting. Any "good faith" the Tucson Weekly held in the Salpointe community was damaged far beyond any pain caused to our school.
--Jennifer E. Levario
To the Editor,
I'm writing this in regard to the Tucson Weekly issue that was released February 5, 1998. It featured many stories that were based on Salpointe students, referring to them as "spoiled, boozing teens." I, as a member of the Salpointe student body, do not enjoy being called a spoiled teen, let alone a boozing one, along with other numerous accusations against my classmates, few of which can be confirmed. First, although I know that this article was not meant to include all students, the poor choice of words let the reader to believe that in this sweeping generalization, all Salpointe students were financially well off, and indulge in inappropriate behavior. This is far from the truth.
Every day after school, students stay here, cleaning up the campus in Salpointe's work study program to help pay for their tuition. If Salpointe is the horrible place that it is made out to be in this issue of Tucson Weekly, then why would these high school students use their spare time to pay for their tuition here?
I myself am a recipient of financial aid, and I am by no means "spoiled." There are family members that are working extremely hard for me to go to Salpointe. My mother works two jobs, and recently, she has returned to school to finish her own degree. My grandmother works in hospice care, giving all her time and money to allow her three granddaughters to receive a Catholic education. I fail to see my lifestyle as "spoiled."
I do however, like many other Salpointe students, have amazing opportunities that I think I could not have received elsewhere. And I am, much like many other Salpointe students very loved and cared about, not only by my parents, but by my school and by the community that is formed in Salpointe. I guess we Salpointe students really are spoiled, but certainly not in the ways that Vicki Hart infers in her articles.
I was fortunate enough to be a part of Salpointe's award-winning newspaper, the Crusader, at which I was taught that a responsible news reporter who would like to produce valid material always researches both sides of the story. I do not feel this was accomplished in the articles written by Vicki Hart. Reporting with unnamed sources that agree with one's biased view on a subject does not constitute responsible journalism. It is not only irresponsible, but in poor taste to convey such strong opinions without attributing them to a valid source. This causes the reader to discredit the work, which should certainly be done in this case. A good reporter, especially an educator, should know how to report without bias or emotion, vital techniques to responsible journalism that the author of these articles clearly lacks. Sadly enough, it is to be a "spoiled, boozing teen," that must be the one to point it out. Hart's method of journalism is more clearly defined as "yellow journalism." Obviously, not everyone agrees with this portrayal of Salpointe. I do not stand alone.
Thank goodness for education "...and, obviously having watched too many TV cop shows, they're shown questioning the officer about their Miranda rights and commenting about how far away pepper spray should be used." This quotation merely exemplifies the high standard of education students receive at Salpointe, not from TV cop shows. not all high-school students have to learn from television, and contrary to popular belief, minors have constitutional rights as well, the difference here is, thanks to the amazing education they receive, Salpointe students are aware of them.
I believe that another mistake that was made in this article was the dramatic focus on finances. Not only as a Salpointe student was I offended, but as a person who has tried to get past one's money to determine one's worth. It was inferred that Salpointe students have the ability to "resurface the track" or "purchase new computers" to buy their way in and out of Salpointe and sticky situations, and that the "rich kids," a term which is loosely defined, receive advantages over the poor souls who are only of "moderate means." This only encourages students and other readers to believe that money is the key to everything. It is not, and as an educator, the author of these articles should be the first to promote that.
What really bothered me most about these articles was the second side article, "Twisted Standards." There are a number of offensive and slanderous statements in this article. For example, as a Salpointe student council member, I have had the opportunity to meet a number of Salpointe students from various groups. I have attended numerous athletic activities, from volleyball to football to basketball, and never once have I noticed any animosity between any of the sports teams. I am proud of Salpointe unity, and this community exceeds barriers between differences in sports. I am also familiar with the pledge, a Salpointe policy to help students stay out of trouble. I myself have signed it, and like others, have followed it. I have seen football players, for example, at parties with water bottles instead of beers, and they are the majority that remain unnoticed.
I am also familiar with many of the administrators and teachers at Salpointe, as well as some of the nuns. First, for those who are unaware, the sisters at Salpointe do not wear their habits. They dress as everyday educators would. Therefore, they look like normal spectators, and at a sporting event, could not be distinguished by any other than a Salpointe student, all of whom I believe, have faith in these women to uphold the Salpointe spirit and respect. I could not, by any means, imagine any of these people referring to a former Salpointe student as a "traitor," let alone refusing to speak to one
As for the "rich" student who harassed the "fine young man"--religious, friendly, and a good student and an all-American boy, receiving good grades and setting a good example for others: Although a report was filed, no actions were taken because it was confirmed that the accused was out of town with his family at the time the threatening call was made, and charges were dropped. And because of these accusations that proved to be false, his name was dragged through the mud by a family over eager to place the blame. Granted, the phone call was made from the home of a student, however, it was during a get-together at the home, and due to the fact that Salpointe students come from all over, there is no proof that the threatening call was made from an actual Salpointe student.
Again, the integrity of my classmates and friends was challenged with the phrase "intoxicated cheerleaders," referring to a few who showed up at Salpointe's Winter Ball intoxicated. First, the entire squad was not present during this incident. The issue was handled, and the offenders punished as the policy in the handbook clearly defines. Jesus Christ teaches us to forgive, and just as Salpointe students have forgiven Ms. Hart for her offensive and biased article about them, they too have forgiven the violators of the Salpointe Drug and Alcohol policy and are helping their classmates.
Nearby residents who believe that Salpointe students are smoking marijuana and cigarettes during their lunch periods are not qualified to make this assumption. Some Salpointe students are of smoking age, and due to their constitutional rights can legally smoke. I would never judge others on their decisions to smoke tobacco or not. However, as to the accusations about marijuana, there is not proof and no way for neighbors to confirm that Salpointe students were smoking marijuana. These accusations hurt Salpointe students and put them into a category where they don't belong, based on hearsay.
Finally, the frosting on the cake. Canyon Del Oro High School. I am called to remember our homecoming game against CDO, at which our band did not play during half-time. Why? Because contrary to the high-school tradition, CDO would not allow Salpointe's band to play at their own homecoming, as is usual for the away team during this game. I also remember picking up the pieces of the homecoming floats that were destroyed after Salpointe's triumphant victory over CDO. As a Catholic school we are taught that one should take the plank out of their own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone else's. That is our Catholic school behavior in action.
The values that I have learned from Salpointe are irreplaceable. Salpointe is a school, and like any other school, there are students who will make mistakes. But to generalize and categorize Salpointe students based on the actions of a few, is a poor decision to make. There are a number of amazing hardworking Salpointe students, whose positive contributions to Salpointe are immense. This positive aspect is not mentioned. Salpointe students have gathered together more than once to pray, to learn, and to help build an amazing community that is unique to Salpointe. This community has helped Salpointe through many struggles that we have overcome, together.
The accusations and generalizations seemed to come from a biased source, on a personal mission to defame Salpointe. The community found in Salpointe is phenomenal, but there is no need to be jealous. Everyone is welcome.
Last year's graduating class earned over $3 million in scholarships in schools all over the country and in Mexico. That must have been in between the boozing, and spoiled behavior; just ask Salpointe's number one support, Vicki Hart.
To the Editor,
I would just like to comment on your articles these past few weeks by Vicki Hart about Salpointe Catholic High School. I will be first to admit that there is a drug and alcohol problem at Salpointe. You are, however, stereotyping the problem to all of Salpointe. I personally have never done drugs nor alcohol. Hell I have not even tried a cigarette. Vicki says, "Alcohol and marijuana are the drugs of choice at Salpointe." They are drugs of choice at any school!!! You are only telling one side of the story. "A CDO Student said, 'Nice behavior for a Christian school.'" First, not everyone is Christian at Salpointe. Second, we are teenagers no matter what school we go to. Finally, talk about CDO, some CDO students wear shirts that say "FUCK Salpointe." Nice behavior for any school.
The teachers at Salpointe are a lot more caring than at other schools. Freshmen at CDO get egged and toilet papered at the first pep rally. If anything goes wrong at Salpointe's assembly, the principal and faculty step in. Students at CDO do drugs right on campus in visible view of teachers, and they do nothing. Students who do drugs at Salpointe usually hide in the alleys of the neighborhood. When a Salpointe student gets caught with an illegal substance, they are automatically expelled. I know Vicki's kids go to Amphi. I cannot speak for Amphi High, because I do not know anyone there, but I can tell you it is probably worse. Amphi is in a poorer part of town; unfortunately, even though the lower class is typically harder working than the upper class, they are typically most of the 1.8 million Americans imprisoned.
I went to summer school at CDO, and CDO students dressed in leather like witches, freaks, and sluts. I can assure you that a lot of the Salpointe students dress this way out of class, but thank God for our dress code!!! Most of the Salpointe students are clean-cut and kempt. I can tell you I know of one CDO student, whom I went to fifth grade with, who does not bath!!! She stinks and her hair is all knotted. Sure some Salpointers stink, but I can tell you most of the Salpointe girls smell good and have beautiful hair! As for Vicki Hart's house getting egged, I do not agree with that, but she deserved it!!!
Name one of the "BUNCH" of professional journalistic organizations you belong to, other than the United States!!! Vicki Hart is full of crap! She actually thinks she is going to continue these articles bashing Salpointe for a year? Do you think we are going to put stock in anything she says? Vicki Hart is an invalid!!! If anyone puts stock in anything that is in The Weekly, they are idiots!!! If you are a decent newspaper, you would have a Salpointe Crusader journalist write a rebuttal. I doubt you would do that, because you are trash. Your newspaper is full of pornographic advertisements about sex, uncensored personal ads, and impenitent drugs! The Weekly is a trashy newspaper with trashy articles written by White Trash for White Trash!!! Feel free to quote me on that!!!!!!
GET OVER IT VICKI!!! THERE IS NOTHING TO UNCOVER AT SALPOINTE!!! Public schools have their secrets too!!!
To the Editor,
I would like to thank you, Vicki Hart, for exposing just some of the incredible things that happen at Salpointe High I feel my time at this school is limited, so I will provide you with even more inside information to help you with your crusade.
I am being expelled on Thursday because my parents no longer have enough money to pay for bribes after the last problem I had, which resulted in my parents buying the administration Rolex watches. My latest troubles happened just last Friday, as your first story was coming to light.
I was called into the dean's office for being visibly drunk in my Government class, where we had a heated discussion about your article. They asked me to blow in to a breathalyzer, and they took hair samples to test for drugs. I came up over the legal limit on the breathalyzer, and I know that the hair sample will have enough drugs in it to supply an entire public school for a year.
Anyway, that's when I was asked to stay after school and deal with our School Resource Officer, Silva. Now, I was able to hear what actually went on in the emergency meeting held that day.
All 50 some teachers and the top 10 administrators gathered in the teachers lounge (paid for by an anonymous donor about the time of that unfortunate murder) The principal said, "The purpose of this meeting is to discuss that damn woman from the Tucson Weekly, Vicki Hart. What should our community do in retaliation for this monstrosity?"
As the teachers looked around and tried to come up with a truly devious plan, a small voice came from the back. It was a nun with an attitude. "I suggest we egg her house!". Some teachers agreed, but her fellow sister said, "Eggs are too expensive and difficult to throw, I say we just throw empty beer cans at her house, after we're done getting good and liquored up!" Again, some teachers agreed, and they opened up a cold one to show their support.
This is when things got ugly. The two disagreeing nuns started yelling at each other. The first nun grabbed the second and flung her on the ground. Our principal tried desperately to get Officer Silva in there to help, but was told that he was on a coffee break. Eventually, the National Guard was called in and the event ended with only minor side effects due to tear gas, but this is an incident that Salpointe would never want you to know about.
This is a letter that you can criticize in your third of 47 articles about Salpointe Catholic High School. I would appreciate your not commenting on my mizspeelins or my punctuation, mistakes. If you would stick to the real issue, I would hold your word more highly. By the way, if you would like to use my name in your article, it is Joseph Toland. Your lack of names, and always citing an anonymous source really doesn't due anything to promote the idea that you aren't just making things up.
First, I will not make the same mistakes that you accuse the author of the first letter of making. By the way, your concentration on the first letter should have been focused on the message, not the fact that there were problems with grammatical errors. I am not attacking you personally, but I am attacking all aspects of your articles about Salpointe. I do not care if you wrote them, and your "spawn of Satan" friend wrote the headlines. The fact is that the Tucson Weekly should not be engaged in such outlandish "journalism."
Let me call your attention to the seeming lack of your understanding of the Catholic religion. First, regarding your comment about the vocal soccer player. One incident at an activity that happens to be school sanctioned is no reason for expulsion. I actually referee soccer, and I know that players become emotional and yell. I also know that if that becomes a problem, I have authority to deal with it, and I do not need the school to act unless physical abuse happens. The only reason for expulsion for a single incident would be an act of violence or another type of activity that would put another person in immediate danger. Other than that, the Catholic religion teaches forgiveness, and never turning away from someone in need. (I again say that the line must be drawn at the physical harming of another individual). The second blaring error in your Catholic comprehension is in the beginning of the second article, "The Savior Must Be Spinning in His Grave." If you truly believe that Christ was the Savior, then you must realize that he is not in a grave.
Now, if Salpointe was the most involved Tucson high school in drugs and alcohol and we both know that isn't true, at least the campus hasn't been proven to be dangerous. From personal experience, when I attended a public school I saw fights at least once a month, and was involved in two of them. Since I have been at Salpointe, I have not seen a single fight, and have seen only one altercation that even looked like it might turn violent. I have heard rumors of only four fights ever occurring between Salpointe students during the time I have attended Salpointe. I have been at Salpointe three and a half years.
Notice that Salpointe doesn't employ "monitors" for the sole purpose of keeping the peace. I was on the campus of a TUSD middle school last week and I noticed four monitors. I also noticed that the problem with safety was so bad that the administration felt the need to install "Dukane" brand intercoms. When I asked a teacher why they were there, she responded "So we can tell the office to get a student out of here!"
Remember the Tucson High riots? If not, look at the September 14, 1995, issue of the Tucson Weekly. That public school had the entire available Tucson Police Department responding to six different fights in riot gear. That school lost so much control over their students that they actually closed down the school for the remainder of the day.
Also, how dare you even suggest that a letter written in haste to respond to a nearly personal attack accurately represents the knowledge or intelligence of a Salpointe education. Where is the logic in saying, "Perhaps public schools aren't so bad after all?" You know that the education provided at Salpointe is better than is available to most public high school students. You also know that there is a long waiting list every year to get in to Salpointe, because only the smartest and best students are admitted, whereas every high school age student is required to be admitted into the public school system. I know that there are some extremely bright students that do not attend Salpointe, but Salpointe has a greater percentage of students scoring in the top 10 percentile than does the TUSD, or Amphi school district. I just ask you to open your eyes and realize that what you are implying here is simply absurd.
About your first amendment right. I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one. However, the fact is that libel, slander, and defamation are all against the law. If the first amendment protected you from these laws, there would be no need to have the laws on the books. Again, I am no lawyer, but as I understand the supreme court ruling in Ollman vs. Evans, slander can occur by implying something as fact. You are walking a fine line, and I wouldn't put it past a court to rule that your statement "no one seems to be able to explain why (Salpointe doesn't oust misbehaving students)" is slander. The administration "ousted" a student about a week before your first article for "misbehaving." This person was a star athlete and was to graduate this semester.
Now, as I have just quoted my right not to have you imply untrue things about me, you, too, have rights. If someone did egg your house, I am sorry. If someone did throw litter in your yard, I am sorry for that, too. The fact is that this activity is not condoned by Salpointe, and I'm sure they would love to help you find the culprits. However, you need to talk to the school. Those activities are crimes, so you have every right to call 911. You didn't in order to place blame on Officer Silva taking a day off, it would seem.
I hope this sensational "journalism" has received the publicity that you hoped it would. I hope that you get out of any lawsuits that may be filed against you or your publication with the punishment deserved. May God be with you.
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