Journalism+teacher+Adriana+Chavira+speaks+to+students+and+parents+at+Back+to+School+Night+on+Aug.+25.+

Delilah Brumer

Journalism teacher Adriana Chavira speaks to students and parents at Back to School Night on Aug. 25.

Journalism teacher Chavira suspended after refusal to remove information from article

September 6, 2022

A previous version of this article stated that Chavira was suspended over not removing an article, when in fact she was suspended over not removing information from the article. This was rectified at 2:52 pm on Sept. 6. 

Journalism adviser Adriana Chavira was announced to be suspended without pay for three days, on Sept. 1, in the wake of her refusal to remove information from a Pearl Post news article.

“California is one of the states that have a lot more freedom of the press for their students,” Chavira said. “We’re at a journalism magnet so if this is happening here at our school, this definitely can happen in other schools in California and it should not be happening.”

The Pearl Post published an article detailing the effects of the vaccine mandate last year on Nov. 8, written by former features editor of The Pearl Post, Nathalie Miranda. The story mentioned that Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) librarian, Greta Enzser, left after the mandate was established. 

Enzser then filed a complaint stating the publication violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). She argued The Pearl Post released her private medical information by stating she left the school after the vaccination mandate.

“I knew I did nothing wrong,” Miranda said. “I thought it was incredibly ridiculous how it was even questioned whether or not we should be able to keep it up.”

In response to Enzser’s complaint, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) told The Pearl Post staff to remove her name from the article or else disciplinary action would be taken against Chavira. Despite this, editors of the post and Chavira herself refused, insisting that their adviser was protected by California Ed Code 48907 (which states that an employee may not be retaliated against for protecting a pupil engaged in journalistic conduct). 

Magazine Editor-in-Chief of the 2021-2022 school year Valeria Luquin began leading these efforts and has said that they had every right to put Enzser in the article and that it did not violate HIPAA. 

“This is a very important thing that we needed to address,” Luquin said. “We weren’t in the wrong, we were just informing the community as accurately as possible.”

Editors of The Pearl Post have been working to fight these allegations since the issue began, even with the departure of many of their senior editors at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. They’ve contacted lawyers at the Student Press Law Center and have said they’ve been working on plans to prepare for Chavira’s potential absence. 

“Yes, I am a student journalist and I want to do what’s best for press freedom and the student body but at the same time I care about Ms. Chavira,” Magazine Editor-In-Chief Delilah Brumer said. “I don’t want her to be suspended because of this.” 

Other staff members of the post have expressed their fear for Chavira, but reaffirm that they do not regret leaving the story on The Pearl Post website. DPMHS Principal Armen Petrossian has declined to give a comment on the situation. 

“I don’t feel that (Chavira) deserves this,” Luquin said. “I feel like her willing to be suspended goes to show that she believes in us (and) she is determined that we are doing the right thing.”

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  • S

    Sirinya MatuteSep 8, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    The students and their advisor did nothing wrong here, and I’m glad they stood their ground. The notion that the students committed a HIPAA violation false. HIPAA pertains to the way health care providers manage patient information. A school is not a health care provider. Further HHS has provided guidance that specifies that employers are not prohibited from asking whether employers are vaccinated. Employers are, however, obligated to protect information supplied by employees about the date and circumstances of their vaccinations (that’s health info, within bounds for HIPAA). Frankly it sounds like the person who left the school was truly up in arms about the vaccine mandate – it was a political issue – and was entertaining litigation. It is so disappointing because we have seen repeatedly how vaccinations limit the trajectory of a COVID infection and reduce hospitalizations. Bravo to our student reporters.
    -Sirinya Matute, Class of 2000

    https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/hipaa-covid-19-vaccination-workplace/index.html

    Reply
  • D

    Deb SmithSep 8, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    The award-winning Pearl Post is the cornerstone of this LAUSD Journalism and Communications Magnet School and the idea that the District would try to silence the publication and use intimidating tactics, issue a 3-day unpaid suspension to bully the advisor in a pathetic attempt to force her to demand the students redact the article, is incredulous to me!
    The First Amendment and CA Ed Code 48907 ensures their right to tell the truth!
    The school is named after Daniel Pearl, slain reporter of the Wall Street Journal, who attended this program while it was still a part of neighboring Birmingham High School. Daniel was murdered by Islamist militants in Pakistan as a result of his efforts to investigate alleged links between British citizen, Richard Reid, (aka the “shoe bomber”), and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. There is no place for silencing factual reporting at the school named in his memory.
    As the former principal of this school, I am proud of and stand with the teacher advisor, Adriana Chavira, and the past and present editorial staff of this news magazine! What a courageous act to stand for what is right and to show your students their voices will not be silenced!
    And for the record, the school continues to operate without a librarian.

    Reply
  • B

    Brandon ZavalaSep 8, 2022 at 10:06 am

    This is a fantastic article; everyone should be very proud of their work! These journalists must have a great teacher/mentor.

    Don’t equivocate on the truth. Great work.

    Reply
  • C

    Chris ReedSep 7, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    As a professional journalist, I just wanted to say that the Pearl Post staff did a fine job putting together this story.
    It’s a great lesson that sometimes you have to cover a story that hits home but still have to cover it objectively.
    You might be conservative but have to write without an apparent bias on a liberal. You might be gay but have to cover a protest against LGBTQ objectively. You might be covering a murder where the victim shares characteristics with a loved one, but can’t let those emotions overtake the story.
    Well done team, a credit to your great educator (Though I am biased on this subject as Ms. Chavira’s classmate and I am honored to be her friend).

    Reply
  • C

    Chuck ClarkSep 7, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    Adriana Chavira should be applauded, not suspended, for standing up for her student journalists’ rights — and for refusing to break California law and remove information that was true and accurate.

    I also applaud her students for standing up for Chavira. The editor, Delilah Brumer, was in our Xposure workshop at WKU this summer and clearly has learned much from her adviser.

    Stay strong! Stand up for what’s right!

    Reply
  • S

    Sharyn ObsatzSep 6, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    Ms. Chavira should be applauded for defending her students’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. LAUSD should overturn this suspension or the principal should withdraw it and apologize to Ms. Chavira for violating state law. Daniel Pearl was an amazing journalist, and the principal at a school bearing his name should honor his legacy, not trample student journalism.

    Reply
  • C

    C WSep 6, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Way to stand up for your first amendment rights!

    Reply