Apology to Pete Montaño

On April 14, Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 Board of Education member Pete Montaño submitted, via a form on the Cortez Journal website a letter to the editor, seeking to clarify a statement reported in a Cortez Journal news story published earlier that week.

The text of the letter:

In the April 10 paper, I was credited with saying that I thought that most of the blame lies with the elementary schools where students could have picked up some bad habits.

This statement was out of context and incomplete. The habits are taking students out of school for their birthdays, leaving for school breaks a day or two early and coming back a day or two late, and taking the whole school day off to see the dentist or for an eye exam. There are more examples where any reason to miss school is considered a valid reason. Students get this habit at the elementary levels of education and carry it on during their entire K-12 education.

I do not think, nor did I imply that our elementary teachers teach or foster bad habits.

Respectfully,

Pete Montaño

The Journal apologizes for not publishing that letter.

The letter was received by the Journal, so the website and e-mail systems are not at fault. It was entered into the newsroom computer system on Monday, April 16. We know that, because an editor made a punctuation change and discussed it with me. On Tuesday, I left for vacation, believing the letter was scheduled for publication.

Toward the end of that week, we received an e-mailed letter from Kay Phelps referring to a delay in publishing Mr. Montaño’s letter. At that time, I entered the Phelps letter into the system and e-mailed the Journal to say, “Please make sure the Montaño letter runs asap.” I received a response to that e-mail, so I assumed, again, that the matter was handled.

It wasn’t until I returned from a short trip earlier this week that I realized Mr. Montaño’s letter had never been published and instead had disappeared from the computer system. Although the newsroom software includes safeguards that should prevent a file from disappearing without a trace, an editor, a page designer and I searched through the newsroom computer system and consulted our computer experts without finding this one. It seems to have been sent, somehow, to cyberia.

There was no intention to censor the letter, and in fact everyone who touched it moved it appropriately toward publication. The Cortez Journal encourages energetic civil debate, even when that debate includes criticism of its own work.

Again, our apologies to Pete Montaño.

Contact Journal Publisher Suzy Meyer by e-mailing smeyer@cortezjournal.com or calling (970) 564-6040.

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