This one's tricky. Did a news crew trespass on school property? Did a school official have to get all grabby? Do these pants make me look fat? These questions now linger over the Twin Cities region after an incredibly avoidable affray went down in front of God, Allah and everybody ... Crews from both KARE and KSTP traveled to the campus of Tarik ibn Zayad Academy, a charter school accused of offering religious instruction in Islam to its students. From there things get murky. While the KARE crew - who say they called ahead to gain permission to be there - was left alone, school director
Asad Zaman took issue with the KSTP crew and without so much as a "Get off my lawn!", tried to wrench the camera from the photographer's grip. What followed was a staggered fracas in which everyone involved came off looking like an ass. People, what have we learned? Hmm? Bueller? Anybody?
Okay, let's review: First: When members of the media decide to go on public school grounds, they'd do well to ask permission first. Sure, there's probably some law somewhere stating otherwise, but as a parent myself I can't feel too sorry for anyone bum-rushing a schoolyard. Feel free to shoot video from across the street, but if you wanna hang with the kiddies, consult the authorities first. If you're lucky they'll give you one of those sticky visitor badges. I got about a million. Second: If you're a school official, a rent-a-cop or just some hyperventilating bystander, here's a tip: Hands off the camera! Whether or not you have the right to remove said news crew, there a million better ways than grabbing the lens. It's akin to going for a cop's service pistol. Disagree? You don't know the photogs I do. I got buddies I'd raher punch in the teeth than pick up their rig - let alone drag it off their shoulder down by the school buses.
So, while the news crew fumes and the school officials vacillate, I'm washing my hands of this whole silly business by decreeing a first ever all encompassing Schmuck Alert for the entire Twin Cities region. Ya'll act like you got some sense. Schmucks!