Always proofread your work. And when you’re done proofreading, do it again—or have a fresh set of eyes take a look.
Bypassing the process altogether is just asking for trouble—big trouble. That’s the key lesson we’re taking from an incident at Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill, Calif.
The school issued an apology after an image used as evidence in a hate crime investigation made its way into a school newsletter.
From the San Jose Mercury News
“The school's newsletter normally includes announcements, tidbits about current events and an occasional cartoon. Friday's edition carried a ‘Peanuts’-style cartoon depicting a black character with a noose around his neck and the words ‘white pride’ scrawled overhead.”
Principal Connie Cirimeli wrote a letter to the school community apologizing profusely. The culprit? A substitute secretary who was supposed to have had the newsletter proofread by another employee.
"Friday, a substitute secretary was working on the newsletter during a busy afternoon and embedded the image without examining it closely enough to recognize its content," Cirimeli wrote in explaining the incident. "It is office protocol that any public distribution of information be proofread by a second employee and given to the office manager for final approval before publishing."
According to the Mercury News
article, “The substitute did not follow the process Friday and sent out the newsletter without the knowledge of any staff member, Cirimeli wrote, adding that ‘appropriate personnel action’ would be taken.”
Don’t let yourself become subject to “appropriate personnel action,” much less public scorn. Proofread your material!