Editor's Note: The following is a guest editorial written by the editorial board of The Wildcatter, the Calallen High School student newspaper.
When a news article is published, whether a reader reads the entire article or just glances at the headline, an opinion is formed in the reader's mind. Due to this power, writers and editors can be influential with their story discretion. Journalistic integrity is a crucial moral in society's wellbeing. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, several reports have come that draw attention to underage drinking among some of the students at Calallen High School, specifically athletes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. This trend is nothing new, and despite those who show ignorance, the habit is widespread. In light of these statistics, when a story about "teenage athletes" drinking alcohol reaches a widespread publication, or worse, national news, it brings to question the true ethics of why such reports are pursued, and whether or not the side-effects are worth the publicity. It is too coincidental that such publications are time after time targeting Calallen.
The students who were targeted in these attacks were mainly so careless they actually reveled in the attention, or were embarrassed enough to avoid the attention altogether. In either case, the drinking will not stop because of the media reporting such instances. These students have made the conscious choice to start drinking, and only they can make the choice to stop drinking.
If the media needs some articles to catch viewers' eyes, there are plenty of positive, attention-grabbing events that occur on a regular basis. Nearly every student at Calallen has shown support for Andrew Laury, a football player diagnosed with a brain tumor. Fundraisers included a t-shirt sale during breast cancer awareness month. These pink shirts can literally be seen on a good percentage of the student body and the surrounding community on any given day. Even the local Burger King held a fundraiser in support of Laury, giving 100 percent of one night's profit to his cause. Separately, after one of the football player's parents passed away, the football team personally showed its support by holding a car wash and barbecue that raised several thousands of dollars for his family. Other community events include Thanksgiving collection baskets by Calallen's various clubs and classes, and several teachers working together to support a Mexican boy in America on a medical visa. These events are just the high points of the good happening at Calallen, and they have made a huge impact on the community, yet were marginally overlooked by the media.
It will always be the public tendency to read about the indiscretions of a few rather than the prosperity of the majority. However, it is the media's responsibility to retain its journalistic integrity over what it chooses to publish. How they choose to reflect society is how society will inevitably choose to view itself. It is always a relief when the community chronicles a positive past, rather than creating a negative history.