The Principal Who Helped Gaby Rodriguez Fake Her Pregnancy Just Won “Principal of the Year.” The Frightening Thing Is, He Might Have Deserved It.

Note that it says "Principal." It doesn't say anything about "principles."

I received this news from Ethics Hero Harris Meyer, the journalist who has been trying to preserve some semblance of integrity in his profession by reminding it what ethical investigative journalism is not, through his efforts to rebut the praise for Gaby Rodriguez, the high school student who deceived her family and classmates by pretending to be pregnant as her senior project. The news: Trevor Greene, the principal who helped devise Gaby’s unethical stunt and assisted her in lying to the rest of the school, has been named the state’s top high school principal by the Association of Washington School Principals.

He received this  honor, the release says, by virtue of his organizing a system of student-teacher mentorships, and guiding the school’s effort to expand and improve its science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. The fact that he also mentored a student in a blatantly unethical exercise that was, as I wrote in my original post about Gaby’s scam, Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Journalist Harris Meyer

Harris Meyer is an Ethics Hero because he won’t let a bad lesson go unchallenged.

Meyer is an award-winning  freelance journalist and a former editor at the Yakima (Wash.) Herald Republic. That was the paper that first broke the story of Gaby Rodriguez last year, which I wrote about here. With the encouragement of her high school principal, Rodriguez, a senior, embarked on some amateur social science research that involved deceiving everyone in her life except her mother, one (of seven) siblings, her boyfriend, and the principal. She pretended that she was pregnant, suing padding. She faked the pregnancy for months, finally announcing the sham in a student assembly. This extended hoax was supposedly designed to expose how pregnant teenagers are treated by their peers and others. It was, by any rational standard, a despicable thing to do—a betrayal and exploitation of her friends,  her boyfriend’s family, her siblings and teachers. Deception on such a scale must be justified, if at all, by both need and necessity. Were there other, less destructive ways to investigate the treatment of pregnant teens? Sure there were; interviews come to mind. Collecting published journals and other accounts. But Gaby’s unethical stunt was in spiritual synchronicity with a reality show-obsessed culture, where fake is entertaining and collateral damage is of no concern.  I wrote: Continue reading