From the Editor: The Cobb County School District’s message to the Cobb County Courier

The logo on front of a Cobb County School District facilityCobb County School District sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

As an editor not much surprises me these days. And I don’t always expect to be universally loved.

Any news organization that regularly reports on governmental bodies of any sort, be they law enforcement agencies, elected bodies, or school districts will ruffle feathers. It comes with the territory.

And to be honest, we’re aware that we’ve regularly ruffled the feathers of the school district.

But I’ve come to expect a degree of professionalism from the spokespeople for agencies, boards, and other institutions that should be accountable to the public. And in the overwhelming number of cases, public officials and staff live up to that expectation.

So imagine my surprise when, in response to a routine request for comment to the Cobb County School District, I received the following response, along with the usual message to attribute it to “a district spokesperson.”

The message was as follows:

“Due to ongoing concerns with accuracy in reporting, the Cobb County School District will not provide response to the Cobb County Courier’s request for comment.”

Now think about this for a few moments.

Here’s the text of the email containing the questions they refused to answer:

“I’ve gotten a press release from a local organization about the incidents at Pope and Lassiter highs.


Does the school district consider them antisemitic incidents?


Could the district give me a comment on that (whether or not you think they are incidents of antisemitism?)”

Those questions are pretty benign in the grand scheme of things (although the second question was not the most clearly written thing I’ve ever crafted).

And here’s something else to think about.

The school district has never once contacted the Courier to request a correction on a story. The school district has never once asked for a retraction of any story from us.

When we are contacted by any organization or individual with a request for correction we take it seriously, and if we determine that we wrote something in error, we run a correction, which is standard practice for news organizations.

This is an educational institution. They should be teaching students about critical thinking, honesty, transparency, communication skills and how to clearly answer simple questions.

Part of communication is expressing ideas fully. In this case they’ve made an assertion (“Due to ongoing concerns with accuracy in reporting”) with no attempt to state what it is they think we have reported inaccurately.

Our intent moving forward

So what do we intend to do about this? Nothing different.

We are going to do exactly as we’ve always done. When we are about to publish a story involving the Cobb County School District we will reach out to them for comment.

It’s the professional thing to do.

And we hope the CCSD behaves professionally in return. But the district should regroup a bit and decide if the response they gave to our request for comment was a professional response coming from an organization that feels a sense of accountability to the public.

So the ball is in their court. They can answer us, not answer us, insult us or send our requests to their spam folders. But we’ll continue to ask them questions, file open records requests, and do those things news organizations do routinely.

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17 Comments on "From the Editor: The Cobb County School District’s message to the Cobb County Courier"

  1. Our Superintendent and his 4 like-minded board members are a joke. They are terrible representatives for our children. I can only hope when the next opportunity to vote them out, we do! Sadly, it took the Covid Pandemic to alert most of us just how inept and politically driven they are. It’s truly sad and disturbing for our kids and our community.

  2. While occasionally tense, the relationship between news media and governmental groups is central to America. Somewhat of a check and balance. If they think the newspaper has been inaccurate, say so and provide proof. Media organization’s publish retractions all the time. To just say “no” and take their ball and go home? Well that’s just a bit childish. For a school district.

    Keep up the good work. Ignore the Rhetoric.

  3. I applaud the Cobb County School District’s move to not engage with the Cobb County Courier. It doesn’t take long if you are a regular reader to recognize the Bernaysian spin put on most topics and the editor himself admits to his bias. When you encounter the use of these techniques you have to remember that this is not meant to inform the public, but rather to manipulate and propagandize the public. The Cobb County School Board has done the right thing when they refuse to participate in such malign activity.

  4. Disgraceful

  5. Disgraceful behavior on their part; but like your publication,I am not surprised.

  6. As a public school they have an obligation to respond. But as we have seen with their COVID response they are operating on their personal beliefs and not on data. It’s indefensible in public discourse, so they repeat their official statement or ‘take their ball and go home’. They feel attacked because they are under attack because they hide their decision making processes and have tuned out a significant portion of their stakeholders. It is pure hubris.

  7. Very nicely said.

  8. Is the CCSD possibly commenting on it’s own inaccuracies and factually incorrect information from several of it’s members?

  9. I agree with your approach completely! Do NOT relent…the public expects and deserves a response!

  10. Recently enrolled my three children here. Most barriers to enrollment I have EVER faced. And We travel a lot, enrolled my kids in palm beach county FL, schools in SC and indiana. They blatantly ignore no child left behind LAWS and I even went so far as to loop in my attorney. It was shocking. I emailed the supers office and expressed my concern and offered recordings of the very POOR interactions and they did not even respond. My attorney logged everything. Just in case!

  11. Good. Stay on them. CCSD should be ashamed for their handling of covid protocols and refusals to follow GADPH requirements regarding close contacts.

  12. Thank you for the initial story and the followup reporting. Good work and good journalism, both are appreciated, greatly needed and highly valued.

  13. Thank you for the initial story and the followup reporting. Good work and good journalism, both are appreciated, greatly needed and highly valued.

  14. Scamihorn believes masks are dangerous to children and kids can’t get Covid. This is the District leader. The CCSD has made national headlines for their ignorant stance on masks and quarantining. They probably believe All press are the enemy of the public. That is dangerous propaganda (Catherine).

  15. Wow just wow. The Cobb County School District leaders are really getting besides themselves. Between their response here and their responses to parents and community members asking for their mask policy to remain the same as last year’s since all the kids cannot be vaccinated. They send parents misleading YouTube videos. Shame.

  16. As someone who grew up in the Cobb County School system and graduated less than 5 years ago, it breaks my heart to hear they will no longer give you all any comments. This is an excellent news source (with no paywalls!!) and you all are being unfairly punished for trying to bring the truth to light.

    Keep doing what you’re doing

  17. Good job. Continue the work despite the sad state of affairs of the CCSD

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