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The Right Angle(a): On Legacies, the Matador and Consequences




Editor in Chief

As senior year begins, I’m left wondering what kind of legacy I’ll leave at AHS, if I leave one at all. But for San Gabriel High School’s newspaper staff, it’s clear that they’ve made history (intentional or not).

For those unfamiliar with the story, SGHS’s Matador newspaper intended to publish a story on the departure of Speech and Debate coach Andrew Nguyen. Then-SGHS principal Jim Schofield pulled the story from publication, stating that it violated Nguyen’s contract. Students from the Speech and Debate team and Matador staff protested this at many district board meetings, with the debate team protesting Nguyen’s removal and the newspaper staff arguing that their First Amendment rights had been violated.

As much as I sympathize with the Matador staff as a student journalist, I do understand position the school board has been put in. The students need to respect the board’s inability to disclose the details of Nguyen’s firing while the school board needs to understand the outrage that the Matador staff experienced in having a story pulled from publication. However, my biggest concern is for Mr. Nguyen, as this continued media coverage can hardly be helpful in helping him find a new job. I do not doubt that he would prefer to resume his teaching job at SGHS; however, the board has already stated multiple times that this cannot happen.

This was evidently a delicate situation that both the school board and students handled perhaps too aggressively. As much as I admire the students’ passion to fight this and their dedication to their coach, I find it hard to view the continued media coverage as anything but poor publicity for Nguyen. I do not doubt that he is a wonderful educator who clearly cares for his students and does his best to help them, but you would be hard-pressed to find schools clamoring to hire a teacher for whom students will harass the school board for. Ultimately, this incident between the district board and SGHS students imparts upon us the impact of an effective educator.

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