"Are the Kids All Right?" Series Unfair to Youth sign now

We, the undersigned, do hereby demand a formal apology or letter of regret addressed to the youth of Stratford Ontario, Canada, and the surrounding community of Perth County, for the recent series of articles published in the Stratford Beacon Herald, titled "Are the Kids All Right?".

We do not believe enough effort was made by the staff of the Stratford Beacon Herald to establish an objective, unbiased view of - quoting the description of the series on the web page http://www.stratfordbeaconherald.com - "illegal drugs, the pitfalls of being a youth today and how the youth criminal justice system handles those who end up on the wrong side of the law."

Realizing and appreciating that the journalist in question, Laura Cudworth, printed comments made by youth and the police accurately, and statistics and evidence were gathered on the issues presented in each article, we believe the general message of the series was biased against youth, and could incite prejudice against the youth of the community. More could have been done to correct this before the series was published.

In the article, "Haunted", which explored the use of "crystal meth" among youth, the article referenced a statistic from YES (Youth Empowerment Society) with data from the Vancouver Island Youth Detox Centre which, as printed in the article, claimed "61 per cent of youth identified meth as their drug of choice. . ."

This quote:
*Is not relevant to Stratford or Perth County as it is a different region.
*Fails to recognize that 61 per cent of youth who were professionally referred to the Vancouver Island Youth Detox Centre reported addictions to crystal meth (the actual 2004 YES statistic gathered from the VIYDC) - instead, the statistic - as printed - misleadingly insinuates that 61 per cent of all youth from that area identified meth as their "drug of choice".
*Fails to recognize that youth that have been professionally referred to a rehabilitation centre do not represent the youth of that community as a whole, nor does an addiction indicate any personal preference in drug use.

The series presented readers with a misleading, embellished point of view on the general behaviours of the majority of youth, their personal lives, and attitudes towards drugs, violence, and alcohol, which has damaged their reputations and image in the community. We feel the comments of only individual youths are not enough to balance the dominant, negative message presented in the articles. More could have, and should have been done to better protect the image of this community's youth.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, ask for a formal apology or letter of regret to the youth of Stratford and Perth County for this defaming of youth in the community, to be printed in the next issue of the Stratford Beacon Herald, or as soon as possible.

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Estelle FrancoBy:
SustainabilityIn:
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The Stratford Beacon Herald

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