Eddy Binford-Ross, a junior at South Salem High School, photographs the March for Floyd on Saturday, June 6. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
The Salem-Keizer School Board will recognize student journalist Eddy Binford-Ross at a Tuesday night meeting after initially delaying her recognition over concerns it could appear too political.
Binford-Ross, a South Salem High School senior and editor of student newspaper The Clypian, was scheduled to be recognized in the board's monthly "spotlights" for receiving several scholarships and journalism awards. Spotlight recipients are chosen by the district's communications office.
Last week, board Chair Satya Chandragiri asked to delay the recognition until after upcoming school board elections in May after Binford-Ross' article detailing the role of Oregon Right to Life in backing local board campaigns was shared on Facebook by the Salem chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Chandragiri said he was concerned honoring Binford-Ross could be perceived as the board endorsing the candidates the DSA is backing in the election.
In an email to Binford-Ross Monday, Chandragiri reversed course, saying he realized he was wrong after hearing community feedback and speaking with Binford-Ross and her mother, Willamette University law professor Warren Binford.
"I want to personally apologize to you about my decision to move your spotlight recognition to after the May elections. I want to sincerely assure you that I have profound respect for all your amazing work and deserving accomplishments in the field of journalism, racial justice, advocacy in the field of mental health and suicide prevention. I want you to know that I am proud of your work for our community," Chandragiri wrote in an email to Binford-Ross.
"While we truly wanted to keep the board meeting proceedings and school district to be entirely focused on our students, student safety, health, learning and closing the achievement gaps and keep any semblance of politics out of the board meeting, unfortunately it did not come across in that manner. For that I ask for your forgiveness," he said.
The board meets Tuesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. The meeting will stream live on YouTube and be broadcast on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube at the links below.