Why was the principal so upset by the "Lost and Found" article in The Landry News by Andrew Clements?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The principal is angry when she sees the article “Lost and Found” because she feels that it is too revealing and Mr. Larson should have never published it.

Fifth grader Cara decides to publish her own newspaper, “The Landry News.”  As the paper grows, other kids in the class begin to contribute and it becomes a class project for her teacher, Mr. Larson.  Mr. Larson has lately grown apathetic, and Cara and the paper are helping him understand why he became a teacher in the first place.

The article is a very meaningful story of a boy surviving his parents’ divorce.  It is an honest and heart wrenching portrayal from the boy’s perspective that other kids can relate to as well.  Though it is told anonymously, Cara knows that the boy who gave it to her wrote it.

When Cara finished reading, she was choked up and her eyes were wet.  … That’s when it hit her that this was not fiction.  It was real life.  It was Michael Morton’s own story. (ch 15, p. 95)

Cara asks Mr. Lawson if she should print it.  Mr. Larson does allow the story, and others, to be published, telling Cara it’s her decision.  When the principal Dr. Barnes reads the story, he is furious.  He disapproves of Mr. Larson’s teaching method and wants to get rid of him.  This is his chance.  Mr. Larson gets a letter from the school board accusing him of distributing the newspaper with the article “Lost and Found.”

Other phrases in the letter included, “lack of professional judgment,” “disregard for individual privacy,” “unprofessional behavior,” “inappropriate use of school resources,” and “insensitivity to community values.” (ch 16, p. 99)

Aware that he has been a “rotten teacher” for some time now, Mr. Larson understands why Dr. Barnes wants to get rid of him.  However, he can’t give up because of the kids.  They had created a wonderful newspaper, and he needed to fight for them.

Although it's a children's book, The Landry News tells a touching story about the rights of children, standing up for what you feel is right, and the importance of free speech. 

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