Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on October 10th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 32

Truth hurts

"Why is everyone so sensitive?" 

We hear it so often in the Opinion section, often from those mad at letters they disagree with or at reporting they'd have rather never learned about.

Take a look at the critical response we received from a reader (page 14) for some news reporting done in the Oct. 4 issue ("Local priests named in California sexual abuse report"). A massive report was released detailing decades of allegations and investigations of sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic priests, which included allegations against a former St. Joseph High School teacher who still has a post at St. Joseph Seminary in Orcutt.

Our critic, Colleen Kuykendall, was upset about a photo of the high school that ran with the story. The Sun was "trying to bash" the high school, she argued.

To be clear: Father Timothy Lane did teach at St. Joe's. The alleged incident was with an 18-year-old, then-recently graduated St. Joe's student. Lane was investigated by the Sheriff's Office. And he was named in the law firm's report.

The idea that reporting the facts is somehow misleading or irresponsible more than ruffles my feathers.

While Kuykendall seems to know quite a bit about about the alleged incident (it was a "consensual relationship" and also "no more than a French kiss," according to her), she also pointed to the fact that this was a long time ago, that Lane hasn't taught at St. Joe's "for 12 years."

But you don't even have to go back that far to find similar issues at the school. Remember in 2012, when St. Joe's then-principal Joe Myers resigned after he was convicted of failing to report an alleged rape of a female student?

Well, I do. I also remember how the victims of that attack were treated for coming forward at the time. Many in the community openly supported Shane Villalpando, the man convicted of sexually assaulting the two girls, who were then the targets of harassment, intimidation, and bullying, to the point that they had to move out of the area to complete school.

I'm not bringing this all up just to "bash" St. Joe's. The school has a reputation for sending kids to great colleges and careers, but its legacy isn't free from blemishes.

We can't move on or improve on these problems unless we look them in the eyes, much like the handful of Santa Maria educators who are voicing concern about the disparity between the number of Latino students and white teachers in the city's school districts (page 8).

Representation and cultural proficiency is an issue that helps ensure student success, study after study shows it, but tell a white teacher that they could adapt their teaching style better and watch out because sparks will fly! Nobody is saying that white teachers can't teach Latino kids, just that maybe there's more for the teachers to learn to help those kids succeed.

I'm sure there will be some impassioned letters headed our way about this, people who want to blame immigration, liberal education policies, or this newspaper for not describing Santa Maria's demographic changes as the story or the problem, rather than what is and isn't being done to address it. 

Then I have to ask: Why is everyone so sensitive? 

The Canary has a thick skin. Send your thoughts to

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results