We get a lot of calls these days from people who have been arrested over the years, had their arrests publicized in the media, and are now trying to get that coverage scrubbed from the Internet.
We have policies that dictate how we handle these cases, which include editing original posts when there is a disposition in the favor of the defendant. But we don't remove articles or posts, as is the practice with most media.
A few weeks ago we got a call from a guy who got in some trouble in school about 10 years ago, making a comment that was construed as a threat and leading to a felony charge. He was over 16, so he was prosecuted as an adult and his name was released to the media, and it was a big deal at the time as the tragic trend of school shootings became reality.
He had moved on with his life, graduated college but was still being dogged by news of this arrest when he was a teenager. It was hard not to be sympathetic, as I did some incredibly dumb things in my teen years, but was lucky not to have this world transcript known as the Internet around to memorialize them.
We did what we do here at the paper to ensure all the facts are available for the reader who finds an article in these situations, per our policies, but I wondered if we should be doing more.
As we deal with another wave of zero-tolerance arrests at local schools in light of last month's school massacre in Florida, including Wednesday's case in Granville, more and more teens are finding out that a dumb remark or post on social media in the heat of the moment can result in major consequences.
And those consequences may reverberate for years and years, well into adulthood, even if it was a simple remark in a moment of anger as a teenager.
-- Don Lehman