Gallup School Superintendent Says Changing a Label Explains Away Its Harsh Native Student Discipline. It Doesn’t.
At New Mexico in Depth and ProPublica, we practice “no surprises” journalism: No one should read anything about themselves in our articles without first having had a chance to respond.
So journalists in our newsrooms were surprised to read in the Gallup Sun, a weekly newspaper, that the superintendent of Gallup-McKinley County Schools had criticized our story about his school district. We had given him ample opportunity to respond to our reporting, but the Sun did not give us that opportunity in turn.
Superintendent Mike Hyatt told the Sun and school board members that he ignored our requests to talk to him because he believed we had a predetermined narrative. That’s not the case. ProPublica, a national nonprofit investigative news outlet, partnered with New Mexico In Depth, a state-based nonprofit news organization, to look at school discipline across New Mexico. We wanted to understand what was driving high rates of discipline for Native American students in the state.