EDITORIAL: What is, and is not, on our front page

By The BP Editorial Board

When the Editorial Board gathered to discuss placing the story of Dr. Weissman’s departure on Page 1, the schism we observed in Shalhevet was reflected around the table. As a newspaper, we are constantly searching for the facts of a story, trying our hardest to inform our community and to remain upstanders in our democracy. When it came to Reb Noam’s departure, we couldn’t uncover information that had not been already publicized to the students, parents, and staff of Shalhevet. Should we therefore leave Dr. Weissman off the front page entirely, put the story of his removal in our “What’s inside?” feature, or report the biggest news of the paper on the front page?

The Editorial Board did not want to put the story “Dr. Weissman not returning next year” on the front page because it would be difficult for Dr. Weissman himself and many of his loving students to see.

At the same time, we were also well aware of the duty of any newspaper to hold public officials accountable for their actions, and to be sensitive toward the victims of a case. If the voice of the student body — the Boiling Point — seemingly buried the story about Dr. Weissman, it would appear to the victims that we were denying their truth, something else that could harm Shalhevet community members.

In addition to all of these considerations, in a small school rich with opinion, the Editorial Board faced another roadblock: the concern of extreme backlash. Students on the Editorial Board have already experienced verbal and electronic admonishments from students in the school warning them to not publish the story on Dr. Weissman on the front page of the paper. Students have expressed anger at any reporting of the story as well, calling The Boiling Point’s headlines and news coverage “gross” and “disgusting.”

There was a palpable fear around the table as we discussed the merits and cons of publishing the story about Dr. Weissman’s removal on the front page. We had to ask ourselves, “Are we willing to become social pariahs, as student after student attacks our paper for being insensitive to the emotions of Dr. Weissman?”

Members of the Editorial Board of The Boiling Point are community members as much our readers are. We too are trying to deal with a lack of information in a confusing time, and trying to trust that the school’s Executive Board is looking out for the Shalhevet community as a whole. At the same time, we are a group of students who believe in the power of the press in a democracy, and that we owe it to our community and the future students of Shalhevet to take advantage of the freedom of press we are granted.

That freedom means we can tell you what we know and what we don’t know, and unify our readership in both knowledge and lack of it. It means we can reinforce, even weeks after the announcement, that whatever happened, no one has accused Dr. Weissman of any inappropriate behavior toward students. You deserve to read of that from a source you can trust — not a source that reports only what’s easy, or what makes us celebrate.

We decided to compromise, by publishing on Page 1 below the fold, the story on staff changes due to Dr. Weissman’s removal. His role in our school was massive, and his departure is being felt every day. As a newspaper with journalistic integrity, we must publish massive news for our constituents on the front page, but in order to respect the situation we chose an article that mainly discusses staff changes instead of the events surrounding his removal. Although it refers to the dismissal in the background, the article does not go into the details of the case.

The facts as we know them are available as well, here and on page 5 of the print paper.

We are sure that we will receive backlash from community members telling us we did not expose enough and those who feel we have publicized too much. We hope this comes in the form of respectful letters to the editors and not hurtful comments in the hallways or in classrooms. We write and publish with you in mind, and with respect for your feelings as well as what you need to know.


Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the members of the Editorial Board, which consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Web Editor-in-Chief, Community Editor and Faculty Advisor. We welcome submissions for signed editorials from members of the Shalhevet Community, and the final decision about printing them is made by the Editorial Board. Submissions should be emailed to [email protected].