A sharp-eyed reader forwarded an editorial from The Almanac (which, by the way, has a snappy new website). Here's a link to the piece. Here's the text in full:
If a picture speaks a thousand words, one we published last week spoke volumes to some.
The photo, printed on a sports page, showed several enthusiastic Mt. Lebanon High School students cheering on their football team. The controversy didn't surround the picture. It focused on the attire of those in the photo - or rather the lack of attire on the teenaged girls.
We received several phone calls from citizens who were concerned about the girls' mode of dress and angry at us for publishing the picture. They claimed it was an embarrassment to the students and their families.
We stand behind the picture which, most certainly, shows the fan spirit of these teenagers. The snapshot was taken at an outdoor public venue attended by hundreds of people. It captures the enthusiasm, emotion and frivolity of a high school crowd, right down to the letters painted on the girls' stomachs.
What could be argued is the appropriateness of what the girls were wearing. But that is an argument that should take place in the household and not on the telephone or offices of this newspaper.
Enter any high school - locally or nationally - and you will witness a menagerie of truly eye-opening clothing styles. We all know the arguments parents have with their teenagers concerning mode of dress. But we also know that kids will find a way to do as they please and go against the wishes of their parents. Some of this may not be done out of defiance or spite as may be thought, but merely to fit in not just among their peers but also society.
Today's mode of dress can be seen by turning on any television or picking up any magazine. As a society, our children are awestruck by famous singers, actors and athletes. They strive to be just like them, from the way they sing, dance, play and dress. While we may want a better code of conduct from these people, we are also fascinated by them and have come to accept how they act - and dress - and use it as conversation talking points.
We know the schools try to regulate what students wear but, short of requiring uniforms, their authority only goes so far, especially for sporting events such as football games. At those types of activities, we cannot demand our school officials be required to oversee hundreds of teenagers and whether or not those students roll down the waistband of their pants to an unacceptable level. If that type of attire or behavior bothers us, it's our job as parents to make sure our children only wear and act in a manner which we believe to be appropriate.
When a published story or picture strikes a nerve, it can stir up a debate among the public. The role of a newspaper is to be an information provider for its readers. It sometimes, though, can become a reflection instead.