Black Lives Matter Response

Black Lives Matter Response

From the staff of The Leaf,

We sincerely apologize if our most recent cover story, Black Lives Matter, was taken with offense. We apologize again and hope you understand that we did not intend to put blame or responsibility on any specific demographic. We would also like to thank you for affording us the opportunity of a teachable moment.

Our student policy, which can be found on our publication website, states:

“Although students work under the guidance of a professional faculty member, the content is ultimately determined by the student staff and should reflect all areas of student interest, including topics about which there may be dissent and controversy. Students can not publish material that is obscene, libelous, or will cause “a substantial disruption of the educational process.” Content that may stimulate heated debate or discussion is not included in this definition. Our publications are public forums; views represented in our publications do not represent the views of the Sycamore School District or the Sycamore High School administration.”

We sincerely apologize for not printing this statement in our most recent issue. Will will assure that our mission statement is printed in each issue from this point on. Our student-run publication does not represent the views of the Sycamore School District or the Sycamore High School administration.

We would like to address the grievances stated in your letter:

On page 14, we would like to provide you the sources and background of the statistics given. All of the statistics provided were taken from a total of three sources:, Time Magazine, and Open Society Foundations. This can be found on the lower right corner on page 14.

First, we would like to explain the statistics obtained from

  • The statistic “Percentage of those indicted after a killing” from is orginally sourced from “,” an independent data lab whose data has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Discover. Their contact information is: General inquiries:
  • The statistic “Every 8 hours an American is killed by a cop” from is orginally sourced from “” Their words and mission statement say:

“Corporate news reports of people killed by U.S. law enforcement officers, whether in the line of duty or not, and regardless of reason or method. Inclusion implies neither wrongdoing nor justification on the part of the person killed or the officer involved. The post merely documents the occurrence of a death. “

Each of their reports comes from separate news sources including, but not limited to: The Chicago Tribune, WCPO, CBS News, NBC News.

  • The statistic “Percent of those who use drugs: …” is sourced from Open Society Foundations. Their mission statement and words read:

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.”

Their contact information is:

Open Society Foundations

224 West 57th Street

New York, NY 10019

United States





  • The statistics “72 officers killed by civilians this year” and “601 civilians killed by officers this year” are sourced from TIME Magazine, issue: August 24, 2015, pages 38 to 39. These statistics come from the article “What It’s Like Being a Cop Now.”
  • Their contact information is:

Time Inc. Headquarters

Time & Life Building

1271 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020


It was not our publication’s intent to publish these statistics in a manner that would incite racism or prejudice.

Our staff editorial located on page 5 of our issue reflects the views of our publication, not associated with the Sycamore School District.

We did not intend to place blame on any one source. In our staff editorial located on page 5, we state “Despite the worthiness of this call for justice, it merely addresses a symptom of a much more deeply rooted issue: the socio-economic divide between blacks and whites in American society.” Once again, these views are not associated with the Sycamore School District but the student-run publication.

The “Leafing through the Masses” section located on page 5 reflects the views of certain members in our community. As a public forum, students and staff may express their opinions however they see fit. In regards to “the teacher who was quoted as supporting the movement,” there is no link between the teacher’s view and those expressed within the article.

We want to apologize again and thank you for providing us with a teachable moment. We will assure that our mission statement is clearly printed in all future publications.

We would also like to invite you to submit an opinion article or a “Letter to the Editor” to be printed in a future issue. All opinions are welcome on our public forum. The only constraints that we do not allow, as stated in our public forum statement: material that is “obscene, libelous, or will cause ‘a substantial disruption of the educational process.’”


The SHS editorial team