Our view: The punishment doesn’t fit the crime

After more than 30 years of service to Northeast Ohio, WSTB-FM (88.9), the radio station for Streetsboro High School is no longer broadcasting because two pictures of a former student and staff members in the presence of alcohol were found on the station’s servers.

An investigation by the Streetsboro police, however, found no evidence of criminal activity. So, what’s the problem?

Why did the school board choose to prevent the station from broadcasting? We haven’t seen a clear statement from the school district as to why it’s necessary to punish the community and the students for the actions of a few people who didn’t even commit any crime.

We don’t think anyone should have been punished, and it’s too easy for us to say the school board overreacted. It almost appears as though they were looking for an excuse to shut down the radio station. If it’s a matter of the school’s image, the board has only brought bad publicity on themselves.

The station, also known as the AlterNation, has a history and is a valuable asset to the community, reaching 35,000 listeners across six counties and bringing local and alternative rock music to the airwaves. Students are also losing the opportunity to work for the station, which is rare, practical experience.

The station’s general manager will resign from his position today because the school board has not allowed the two staff members pictured in the photos to return to work. He still teaches communications courses.

MySpace and Facebook have created a culture of preserving compromising pictures, and high school administrators too often attempt to limit or control students’ behavior outside of school. We think this responsibility should be left to parents and law enforcement officials. Students should also be more careful with what they preserve that others may find.

We urge the school board to rethink its decision and allow the station to return to the air as soon as possible. The board is only making itself look bad, and the listeners and students are the ones who have to suffer.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board. News editor Jackie Valley did not contribute to this editorial because she reported the story.