Very generally speaking, the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in Inver Grove Heights won the battle with Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten over allegations in Kersten’s columns (here and here) that the charter school was teaching religion.
The Minnesota Department of Education issued its findings of an investigation into the allegations. The department recommended a couple of actions to — as MPR’s Tim Nelson wrote – “better separate religious and school activities.”
MinnPost’s David Brauer did a nice job of comparing Kersten’s charges with the department’s findings.
But the school lost the public relations war when the head of the school apparently roughed up a cameraman — I mean, photojournalist — for KSTP. Maybe the news crew was trespassing, maybe not. But it’s a bad idea to be seen attacking a camera crew, even if you think you have cause.
The best footage of the assault actually came from KARE 11 (Watch). It shows a less violent confrontation than a shaking, turning upside down, camera shot usually suggests, but it was a confrontation nonetheless.
KARE 11 also provided some factoids that KSTP did not:
The school said the crew did not ask for permission to come onto school property and had been told by police to stay across the street.
Zaman said the crew did not identify itself.
“I did not ask police not to let Channel 5 on the property,” Zaman said. “I asked police to tell those unidentified individuals to leave the property.”
KARE 11 had phoned in advance to request permission to videotape on school grounds and was recording video when the confrontation took place.
Inver Grove Heights Police Officer Steve Her confirmed to KARE 11 he told the KSTP crew not to come on the school property before the confrontation happened.
KSTP reporter Chris O’Connell said he and his photographer were not told to stay off the school property.
In the video, O’Connell tells Asad Zaman, the head of the school, that nobody told the crew they couldn’t film. There’s also an interesting segment of the altercation in which a colleague of Zaman’s pokes him in the chest, and then points at the microphone on the camera, apparently to warn him.