Two Stories

On the front page of the Chicago Tribune this morning:

A north suburban school district could become one of the first in the state to adopt rules holding students accountable for what they post on blogs or social-networking Web sites like MySpace.com.

The school board of Community High School District 128, which includes Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools, is expected to vote Monday on a change to student conduct codes that would make evidence of “illegal or inappropriate behavior” posted on the sites grounds for disciplinary action.

“We’re really making parents and students aware that they would be accountable” for what goes online, said Associate Supt. Prentiss Lea.

He said posting a photo of bad behavior on a Web site is the same as if a student dropped the picture on his desk.

Some students chafe at the notion of school officials trolling their personal Web sites for rule infractions.

“It’s called `MySpace’ for a reason, not `What-I-do-at-school Space,'” said Katy Bauschke, 18, a senior at Libertyville.

On the front page of the inside metro section, halfway down, in the Chicago Tribune this morning:

Five Cicero junior high school pupils were taken into police custody Wednesday after authorities said they found a loaded handgun in the pocket of a teen who said he feared a rival gang.

Unity East Junior High School was locked down, and police said a BB gun, knife and marijuana were found in four lockers. The youths were not connected, police said.

A 14-year-old boy took the .25-caliber handgun to the school, which has no metal detectors, police said. Another pupil told a school resource officer about the weapon.

Look. Credit where it’s due. The Trib recently did some of the best reporting in the city with a series about people living with violence in what white people like to call “bad areas.” The stories were detailed, human, brilliantly executed and prominently featured on page one. It was kind of stunning, in a way, to see a paper that generally is written for people living anywhere but the city cover parts of the city people are only too happy to ignore or talk about in hushed tones.

Which is why it’s depressing to see the Trib resort to this kind of TV news-style “OMG INTERNET AIEEEEE and ohbythewaygunsanddrugs” coverage. Look, there’s nothing wrong with triviality, unless you’re picking up the paper hoping for the opposite.

Dear Tribune: Either be grown-ups, or don’t, but make up your minds so that readers like me don’t get hope whiplash every time we pick up the paper in the morning.

Schmucks.

A.