Journalists are obliged to acknowledge when they’re writing about people they know personally.
I didn’t know Jeff Sloan in 2004, when he was battling the school district, and didn’t report on the conflict. I got to know him in mid-2005, when I was not working as a journalist, through his wife, Sharon. She teaches fourth grade at Marigold Elementary School, and two of my children have been in her class.
That was several months after he filed a lawsuit against the district. At his wife’s urging, he and I began meeting to talk about what had happened to him. The more I understood what he was up against, the more I thought he should just settle the suit and move on with his life—and told him so, as did others. Eventually he did settle.
Then, about a month ago, he obtained the information described in this story and shared it with me. I realized right away, for the sake of a full accounting of this important episode in recent local history, the people of Chico needed to know what really happened.