MVHS journalism program to undergo major changes next school year

Mountain View High School’s journalism program is slated to undergo major changes beginning next school year. These changes, while yet to be confirmed by the Mountain View–Los Altos District, include an abrupt adviser reassignment and the elimination of an introductory journalism course. There is speculation by those within the MVHS journalism program that these changes may stem from administrative disapproval of a recent sexual harassment article published by The Oracle, the MVHS student-run publication.


The sexual harassment article was an in-depth piece investigating occurrences of sexual harassment at MVHS, consisting of student testimony and opinion. MVHS administration was heavily involved in the story on account of student privacy and safety. While administrative involvement may be warranted at the request of student journalists looking to ensure they’ve got their facts straight, Oracle staff members said involvement may have crossed a fine line that student newspapers and school administration walk.

Based on California Education Code 48907, high school newspapers are within their jurisdiction to publish anything as long as it isn’t obscene, libelous or slanderous. This code also protects advisers from being “suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred or otherwise retaliated against solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in the conduct authorized under this section.”

According to Oracle in-depth editor and MVHS junior Siona Mohan, after many meetings with Principal Dr. Kip Glazer about the article, the final published piece was very “watered down” to an extent that Siona felt was unfair to the students who she said had so bravely spoken up in their testimony. While Glazer didn’t have any direct authority as to what ultimately got published, students felt pressured to abide by her suggestions as to not burn bridges.

“Glazer came to talk to the whole [Oracle] class, and she was talking about the ethics of journalism and what our role as student journalists is supposed to be,” Siona said. “One thing she said during that was as student journalists, our goal should be to uplift the school. And that is something I fundamentally disagree with. I think that we try to do that as much as possible, but at the end of the day, our goal is to accurately report on what’s going on at our school. And if that is going to be shedding light on negative things that potentially bring bad publicity, then that is what we’re supposed to do as journalists.”

When asked in an interview with The Talon about her involvement in the sexual harassment article, Glazer was very staunch in her support of the First Amendment and student-run publications.

“I believe that the purpose of public education is to create an educated populace for the protection of democracy, and I believe that the role of the press is extremely important,” Glazer said. “Democracy doesn’t exist without a robust and free press.”

Despite Glazer’s expression of support for student journalism, Siona brought up qualms with the fact that administrative discomfort with the sexual harassment article could have led to the changes to the journalism program.

“If, and this is a big if, this decision had anything to do with the publication of that article, it sets a very dangerous precedent for scholastic journalism as a whole,” Siona said. “Because now you’re saying that these kinds of huge changes could happen if students go through with the controversial and difficult stories. So those are a bunch of hypotheticals, but they are hypotheticals worth considering because of how nuanced and complicated the whole situation is.”

It was in the weeks following Glazer’s involvement in the sexual harassment article that the MVHS Introduction to Journalism course was combined with the Publication Design course, and The Oracle adviser was reassigned for the 2023–2024 school year.


According to an email from Staff Secretary Gio Anselmo sent on behalf of the MVHS administration last Tuesday to the prospective MVHS freshman that signed up for the Introduction to Journalism, said class will not be offered next school year. No alternative journalism class was offered as an option to these students, but students were urged to reach out to MVHS Assistant Principal Heather Morelli should they wish to fill the vacant spot with a different course.

In order to write for The Oracle, students have to take this Introductory to Journalism course designed to teach students the fundamentals of journalistic writing and ethics, while also giving them the opportunity to work on stories with Oracle staff in a mentee role. This helps students to come into The Oracle with the sufficient knowledge and experience to report on issues throughout the community in an objective and accurate manner. With the elimination of this first course in the MVHS journalism pathway, it is unclear how students who wish to enter into The Oracle should proceed.


On Monday, April 24, current Oracle advisor Carla Gomez was told by Glazer that she would not return to the advisor position next school year. Instead, theater teacher Pancho Morris will take on the advisor role in addition to his Acting 1 and 2/3 classes.

According to Gomez, Glazer told her that the reason for her reassignment was due to her lack of the appropriate journalism Career & Technical Education (CTE) credential. In an interview with The Talon, Gomez affirmed her support for the District-wide push toward CTE credited classes, and has been in conversation with members of the District about obtaining the necessary journalism CTE since November 2022. She is currently pursuing the credential.

CTE courses are designed to help students obtain the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace after high school or post-secondary education. In order to obtain a CTE credential, a teacher must have 1000 hours of industry experience in the specific field, 24 semester units in the subject listed on the CTE credential or two years of industry experience and have been teaching full-time for one year, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

However, according to Glazer, her reasons for reassigning Gomez are not so straightforward and can’t be boiled down solely to CTE credentials.

“We’re in the thick of master schedule building right now,” Glazer said. “When you’re trying to build the schedule, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration: type of credential, student enrollment and the needs of the department. It is pretty common for an administration to try to match the needs of the students with the availability of the staffing, and sometimes we make decisions that have nothing to do with anything other than the needs of the school.”

“For me, being an advisor is not just a job,” Gomez said. “It’s something that I think you have to come into with a great amount of passion. It’s something that I interviewed for, and I think it’s something that a person should choose to do and not be appointed to. I think that you need a person that’s there because they’re able to put in the amount of time that’s required to do the job, and that also has some awareness of the culture of the program that the students have put together because, primarily, the focus for me is always about the students and their rights. And this isn’t about me as an individual. It’s about losing a lot of the traditions and the community that has gone into making this program so strong. It’s a student-run program, and that doesn’t just happen automatically.”