Many Hesperians were upset that some local news reports included the phrase "gang-related" when referring to the tragic shooting death of Steve Gonzales, the beloved Sultana High School junior who was shot at an Apple Valley party. I certainly share their dissatisfaction, but as a newspaper person I understand why the sheriff spokesperson initially used that phrase and news outlets followed suit.

Journalists are taught to condense words and phrases to be more succinct. In this case, the alleged shooter may have been gangmembers. Therefore, it's true that the shooting may have been gang-related.

But for the friends and family members of Steve, who was an affable varsity football player, the phrase was an affront. He wasn't a gang member. He was just a happy, popular, 17-year-old high school student. If someone's mother were mugged by a gangmember would the newspaper publish a report calling the attack "gang-related?" Probably not.

While it may not be as economical, wordwise, it might be appropriate for the news media to drop the use of "gang-related" when the victim is clearly not in a gang and, instead, explain that only the alleged perpetrator was suspected of being in a gang. It might take a little more ink, but it seems like the right thing to do.

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Star reporter Beau Yarbrough was participating in Hesperia High School's annual Career Day when he heard news that Larry Porras, principal of Hesperia's first -- and largest -- high school, was named to become the first principal of Oak Hills High.

Being named a school's first principal is always a special honor, and no person is more deserving than Mr. Porras. What he has accomplished at Hesperia High is spectacular.

While crosstown school Sultana High has the feeling of an upbeat high school campus, Hesperia, with around 4,000 students, feels more like a veritable community, almost a town. Despite its sprawl, there is an cohesiveness and sense of school spirit among its student body, teachers and staff.

I'd bet that few high school principals anywhere have been as successful as Mr. Porras considering the size of the student body and demographics.

Congratulations, Mr. Porras!