Shallow Portrayal of Jefferson High

In an article about a program in which minority students from Los Angeles are permitted to enroll at Beverly Hills High School (Times, Oct. 17), one of the transfer students is quoted as saying that she chose the program because the school she would have otherwise attended, Jefferson High, has "fistfights on campus every day" and that "graffiti makes it ugly and you feel unsafe."

I take issue with several points in the story:

* Reporting a quotation about a school without properly investigating the merit or basis of the quotation allows the reader to assume that the information is correct.

* The reporter did not take the initiative to call or visit Jefferson High School to verify the information.

True, Jefferson High School is an inner-city school; true, the school is in a community where the ills of a low socioeconomic community are evident. However, there is no reason to allow one sweep of a reporter's pen to vandalize a school's student body, dedicated faculty, and administrative staff. I invite your reporter to visit our 18.6-acre campus, where 2,743 students are enrolled on a year-round multi-track schedule. I encourage you to research, review, and report on the instructional programs that have been recognized by institutions of higher learning as being on the cutting edge of educational restructuring.

I conclude by informing you that Dave Stiles and T.H. Culhane, teachers from Beverly Hills and Jefferson high schools respectively, will be collaborating on a student participation instructional video at Beverly Hills. Students from both schools will be interacting and exchanging campus visitations. The notion of integration is based on human relations, multiculturalism, respect, and sensitivity--all of which are measured and recorded in many modalities. Your attempt to highlight Beverly Hills High School's integration program was a lowlight for my students, faculty, and administrative staff.


Principal, Jefferson High School

Editor ' s note: Thirty-six Jefferson High School students also wrote letters voicing objections with the article. Some excerpts:

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