Facebook commenters have been taking The Bakersfield Californian to task over a headline that seems to question the quality of education students from Oildale receive versus those in Bakersfield.
In a story about boundary changes in the Kern High School District, The Californian reported on a change that would send some students who live west of Highway 99 in northwest Bakersfield to North High in Oildale. However, the story’s headline, “Live west of Highway 99 and expect your kids to go to Centennial? They might be heading to Oildale instead,” is generating outrage among commenters of the story on Facebook.
“I take issue with the title of this article. It suggests that students are at a severe loss to go to North High school,” wrote Facebook user Jacob Montecino. “By emphasizing “Oildale,” your title attempts to marginalize a section of our town.”
Commenter Ann Gallon wrote: “Headline Writer: We know Centennial is a high school. Where did you come up with Oildale [high school]? Poor journalism.”
The controversy is developing because the Kern High School Districts realignment of high school boundaries would have students who would have gone to Centennial would go to North instead. Variations of the proposal would have incoming freshman students who live north of Krebs Road, east of Fruitvale Avenue and west of Highway 99 heading to North High in 2018.
The district’s Board of Trustees saw the presentations at its June 26 meeting, but it expects to approve a single plan by Aug. 7, according to district documents.
One proposal also shifts students who would have gone to Shafter High School to Centennial, and another sees students moving from Frontier to Shafter. Part of the challenge for district officials is with the growth of the Gossamer Grove housing development, a massive tract of homes being developed by Lennar, that is sited within the city of Shafter but close to Centennial and Frontier high schools.
But the newspaper’s emphasis on the shift from Centennial to North seemed to dredge up plenty of stereotypes about Oildale in the article’s Facebook comments.
“Nothing wrong with North High,” wrote commenter Kevin Miser wrote. “North has produced some great athletes and college grads.”
“Just because we live in Oildale doesn’t mean we are dumb,” wrote another commenter.
The issue of the school boundaries is far from settles by the Kern High School District Board of Trustees. The district will hold three community meetings about the changes in the coming weeks. They are set for:
- 6-7 p.m., July 6 at North High School;
- 6-7 p.m., July 10 at Centennial High School;
- 6-7 p.m., July 12 at Frontier High School.
For more on the district’s boundaries, download the document here: https://1.cdn.edl.io/vFvzkajqLIt0RxWk4XCHSSRwj9zsdIIKApAYAzF9E0m1Bsj7.pdf