The president of Palo Alto’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) threatened to cut off funding to Palo Alto High School’s student publications because the young journalists are refusing to identify a campus vandal, the Palo Alto Weekly reports.
The vandal removed space-bar keys from library computers and littered the room with thousands of print-outs of Chairman Mao in January.
Parent Teacher Student Association president Preeva Tramiel threatened the student editors in a meeting Tuesday, reminding them that the PTSA gives the journalism program $10,000 annually for printing and mailing. Tramiel told the students she was “the one who signs the checks” and wanted them to be more responsible to the school community, according to junior Peter Johnson, a co-editor in chief of the school’s Viking sports magazine and the son of Weekly publisher Bill Johnson. In an e-mail to Peter Johnson’s mother, Tramiel said: “It is time these kids were held accountable. If a reporter ticked off an employee of a big advertiser at a real newspaper they would be fired.”
On Wednesday, Tramiel backed off of her threat and admitted that she alone doesn’t have authority to cut off funding anyway, according to the Weekly.
The students, on the other hand, continue to refuse to identify the vandal.
The Weekly points out that the meeting with Tramiel came just days after students won 17 journalism awards at the National Scholastic Press Association convention in Anaheim, including a Best of Show award for the Viking. The Campanile, Palo Alto’s student newspaper, was also recognized as one of the best papers in its class.