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Trustees criticize media influence on school renaming debate

Friday, February 16, 2018 by Joseph Caterine

Trustee Ann Teich has a reputation of occasionally slipping in and out of sarcasm when making comments at meetings of the Austin Independent School District board, so it is difficult to discern how sincere she was when, at the Feb. 12 work session, she accused the media of excessively amplifying the issue of the proposed renaming of several district facilities bearing the titles of Confederate military personnel. “Those of you operating the cameras, you’re not the ones in charge of this. It’s your bosses who are telling you to be here, because they know it sells,” Teich said to the media in the room. “The fact that they’re more interested in this than they are in our academic achievements is a bit concerning to me.” Later in the meeting, Trustee Julie Cowan voiced her agreement with Teich’s earlier statement. Whereas the renaming of Robert E. Lee Elementary School in 2016 had more community backing, she did not feel that other schools’ names were under scrutiny for the same reasons. “It’s only because this is what the media probably wants us to be doing,” Cowan said.

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