On Friday, January 23, Safety Harbor Connect published an article related to teenagers gathering on private property in town.
The piece addressed what local law enforcement officials called “an issue that is getting out of control”, and it ran under the headline “Cops to Curtail Kids Congregating in Safety Harbor.”
A photograph that ran with article depicted four teenage girls walking down Main Street. The photo was taken by me during Third Friday last October, and it was unrelated to the topic of the article other than the fact that article was about teenagers and the people in the photo appeared to be teenagers.
After the article was published and posted on the Safety Harbor Connect Facebook page, a reader who works at the Safety Harbor Library pointed out that she knew the girls in the photo, noted they were all “straight A students, all of whom plan teen programs here at the library, volunteer their time, and are model citizens”, and she questioned why the photo was used in connection with an article about troublesome teens.
I would like to state that it was not my intention to have these girls associated with the topic of the article. I don’t know any of the girls or their names, and I did not mean to infer they were part of the group of teens accused of congregating unlawfully in town. To my knowledge, they were not engaged in any disrespectful activities or behavior that night; they appeared to be enjoying a fun evening in Safety Harbor.
The decision to use the photo was an error in judgement that I deeply regret. The photo has since been replaced in the article and the original Facebook post was deleted.
I sincerely apologize to the girls in the photo, their friends and family and anyone else who may have been offended by the use of the picture. It was not my objective to cause any embarrassment, emotional harm or mental duress, nor was it my intent to link these reportedly upstanding young citizens of Safety Harbor to the topic of the piece.
In the future we at Safety Harbor Connect promise to use better discretion when utilizing photos to accompany articles, and I personally will do everything in my power as editor of the site to ensure a situation like this never happens again.
Thank you for your concern, support and understanding in this matter.
Editor, Safety Harbor Connect.com