It appears the uproar over the Pequot Lakes School hugging controversy is but another example in a long list of kill the messenger chronicles.
The Dispatch stands behind the column by Jodie Tweed that appeared in Monday's edition.
Pequot Lakes School officials have charged that the column was inaccurate. Interestingly, we received no comments from those officials Monday after the story appeared.
We received no comments Tuesday.
We received no comments until Wednesday after deadline time for our afternoon newspaper that day.
At that point, Superintendent Jim Oraskovich called to say the column was "quite inaccurate." He said the school district has no policy on hugging.
Our column said: "There is no official school policy on the issue."
Oraskovich then said an Associated Press story indicated it was a school policy. The AP carried a rewritten version of Jodie Tweed's column that went coast to coast and attracted attention from even Paul Harvey, the ageless radio commentator.
The AP story said: "There is no official school policy on the issue."
Oraskovich, in a telephone interview, said middle level principal Chuck Arns was misquoted. Oraskovich said Arns talked about tardiness at the school.
Tweed said Arns never mentioned tardyism in his interview with her.
Oraskovich made it clear, however, that he had "no big beef" with The Dispatch.
There also has been a charge that Arns did not realize he was talking for publication to a Dispatch reporter. Tweed said she clearly identified herself and that she told Arns she was working on a story. When being told she was working on the story, Arns continued to talk to her.
A Pequot Lakes teacher cornered Dispatch photographer Clint Wood at the school late Wednesday afternoon and said The Dispatch likes to smear the outlying towns. She said we should cover the lack of security at Brainerd High School's parking lot where her son's car had its windshield smashed.
We'll embrace that story, too.
And, yes, hugging is allowed in The Dispatch newsroom.
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