It has been very difficult to see the people I work with, people who have dedicated their lives to the service of young people, and not just any young people, but "the most troubled youth in the state of Iowa" be wrongly humiliated, so therefore I offer this information.
I would like to put into perspective the slide show that was released by the DSM Register.
First of all let me take you back to ANY month prior to the Christmas program. The Juvenile Home has a Monthly Awards Assembly where care is taken to recognize our youth for all the good things they have done in the preceding month. This is done by the handing out of certificates, giving of special bracelets to those who have advanced to "B-step" in their programming, celebrating with those who have achieved "C-step", as well as recognizing many, many other student accomplishments. During this Monthly Awards Assembly incentive activities are also provided in an attempt to reinforce programming efforts. This is very much looked forward to and attended, not only by students and staff, but periodically student's families and other visitors.
Now let me move you to the month of November. It was at the November Awards Assembly that we asked a representative of each living unit and the school, to draw a Christmas song from a bag. All were asked to come to the December Assembly- which would also be our Christmas Program- and somehow present the song they had drawn. They could sing it, do a lip-sync, dance, put on a play, puppet show, whatever. The song pulled by the school; "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch". The slide show released by the DSM Register was put together and played to this song. This was a slide show that staff and youth worked at together, had fun producing and enjoyed sharing with others at the Christmas program. There was never any mal-intent; no one was making fun of the youth as suggested by the Register.
I can assure you this, the people the DSM Register has chosen to humiliate are very good people, excellent educators, experienced counselors, etc. They work very hard and many are my friends.
For me it comes down to this question; in what realm of journalism is it OK to publish only part of a story, especially if you either know the whole story, or didn't bother to find out? I'm thinking maybe the type done for the National Enquirer or Star, you wouldn't think the Register. Apparently I'm wrong.
Let me be clear that I am not representing any opinion on behalf of the Department of Human Services, only that of my own.
Employee (27 years), Nurse and Chairman of the Incentive Committee at the Iowa Juvenile Home