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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Jesse "Doc" Wendel: "Jessica and Ashley, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G . . ."

Thanks to Doc Wendel for this piece

My youngest daughter says this BLOWS

The below story broke yesterday on local radio. Girl pecks girlfriend on cheek, senior and sophomore. Security video camera in the school cafeteria records the kiss. Dean of Students Keith Nelson rats them out to the sophomore's Dad. Dad pulls daughter out of school, sends her off to reform-your-gay-kid camp till she's cured, whenever that may be.

The High School principal swears it was a mistake and will never happen again. The Dean defends his actions, saying while he respects the change in policy, he believes his first obligation is to parents. "They're paying good money for us to make their kids good citizens. Whatever that means to the parents, I'll do it."

Dropping Kyle off at school this morning, I told her the story. She was outraged. Kyle, sixteen, is primarily gay, occasionally bi, and has been out since she was fourteen. Other than rude comments at bus stops -- because she's a teenage woman, not because she's gay -- she's never been seriously discriminated against because of her sexuality.

Kyle was SO pissed:

"But, but, but... This would have NEVER happened to a boy/girl couple." "The Dean says he'd have shown the tape to the dad even if the couple was boy/girl." "Whatever. The DAD wouldn't have CARED if his daughter was kissing a BOY!"...long pause... then she said: "Actually, if they're not all to totally heartbroken, this may be okay." "Huh?" "Well, the gay kid camps are filled with gay girls. If the girl isn't totally broken up or in love, she's got a really good chance of hooking up, and it isn't as if she'll have anything else to do. After all, when so-and-so was shipped off to Gay Camp, she was out in the middle of the desert with nothing else to do but fall in love."

My daughter is so cool. All I can see is what a repressive ass the father is for telling his daughter whom she can love while carting her off to the gay reparative therapy freak show. Leave it a teenager whom has actually had friends shipped off to Gay Camp to see (from her point of view) the bright side -- hooking up and having fun, so long as you don't fall for the (fundamentalist) bullshit.

Good luck to you Sophomore Girl from Gig Harbor High School. Stay strong. May your path be lit with rainbows.

Cameras catch kiss, raising questions

Brent Champaco; The News Tribune
Published: April 26th, 2007 01:00 AM

Video cameras at Gig Harbor High School were installed to catch trespassers, fights, harassment – the stuff that threatens safety at the campus of 1,700 students.
The surveillance system has also helped administrators find and discipline students who break rules, such as leaving trash on a lunch table.

But the high school says it will tighten its own rules on security cameras after two female students were filmed kissing and holding hands.

Keith Nelson, the high school's dean of students for almost two years, shared the footage with the parents of one of the girls. They have since transferred her to a school outside the Peninsula School District, officials said.

"It's not our normal practice," said Principal Greg Schellenberg. "It's not going to happen again."

The other girl, who remains at Gig Harbor High, says their privacy was invaded.

"We weren't doing anything inappropriate, nothing anyone else wouldn't do," she said.

The girl, a 17-year-old senior, described the kiss as a quick "peck."

The News Tribune is not naming her because she is a minor and her family feared retaliation. Her father works for the newspaper.

Nelson said the parents who transferred their daughter approached him before the kissing incident. They asked him to notify them of any out-of-the-ordinary behavior, he said.

A few weeks later, he was inside the busy high school commons area, where by chance he witnessed the kiss, he said. He went back to the security room, watched the footage and invited the parents to view it.

There's no expectation of privacy when students are in a crowded place, Nelson said. And he would have acted the same way if it had been a boy and a girl kissing, he said.

The school district received a complaint from a student. It investigated Nelson for any pattern of improper camera use, said assistant superintendent Shannon Wiggs.

The district concluded earlier this month that Nelson didn't violate policy and that the sharing of the footage with the girl's parents was an isolated case, Wiggs said.

But the investigation prompted Schellenberg to tighten his policy on how school security cameras can be used. School staff members can now use footage only for security monitoring and to catch trespassers, fights, vandalism and similar violations, he said.

Kissing and other public displays of affection still technically violate the rules. But staff will first warn students before disciplining them on a second offense. Employees are also restricted from sharing footage in response to an open-ended parental request, which apparently happened in this case.

"The same information could have been portrayed to the family without the video," Schellenberg said.

- posted by Jesse "Doc" Wendel

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