AirTalk for September 29, 2010

Teacher’s suicide leads to call for Times to remove performance ratings

Mercer 10730

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

A memorial for Rigoberto Ruelas Jr., a fifth-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School is shown on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, outside the high school in Los Angeles.

The United Teachers Los Angeles is demanding that the Los Angeles Times remove teacher performance ratings from its website after one teacher rated “less effective” committed suicide. The union claims that Rigoberto Ruelas, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, took his life because he was despondent over his low performance ranking. The Times published the ratings last month in a database analyzing test scores for third and fifth grade students over a seven year period. Should the newspaper yank the database? Should other newspapers refrain from publishing stories that might result in death or suicide?

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