Skip to comments.[Oak Ridge] School paper pulled by officials
Posted on 11/23/2005 9:41:15 PM PST by SmithL
OAK RIDGE - All 1,800 copies of the Oak Ridge High School student newspaper have been confiscated by school officials and won't be distributed to students, Superintendent Tom Bailey said Wednesday.
An article explaining birth-control methods and a two-page feature about tattoos and body piercing, complete with photos of students displaying their body art and piercing, prompted the move, Bailey said.
School officials made the decision late Tuesday to yank the latest issue of "The Oak Leaf'' from circulation at the recommendation of Principal Becky Ervin, Bailey said.
"The action of the principal was totally appropriate,'' Bailey said. "I would have done the same thing as a principal all the way to the end, whatever the end may be.
"The paper won't go out in the form that it's in right now.''
He said the articles that sparked concern will be deleted, and the newspaper will be reprinted.
"What a horrible civics lesson they are providing our next generation of citizens,'' said Mike Hiestand, an attorney with the Student Press Law Center.
That nonprofit organization provides free legal help to high school and college student journalists.
"It doesn't sound to me like there is anything in the articles that is unlawful,'' Hiestand said. "To cut off any article because you disagree with it, rather than talking about it, is an unfortunate lesson to pass on to these kids.
"The newspaper does exist as a public forum, and as a public forum, school officials really don't have a whole lot of control over censuring articles simply because they find them objectionable.'
"It's unfortunate that the school officials don't let the students talk about issues important to them in a meaningful way."
Hiestand said a member of his organization would be talking with school officials after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Hopefully, we will be able to persuade the school board to rethink this,'' Hiestand said. "If we don't, we help students find lawyers and go to court.''
The editor of the monthly student newspaper had a three-word reaction to the move by school officials: "I am outraged,'' Brittany Thomas said.
"I think the administration is being petty and ridiculous,'' the 17-year-old senior said.
"The thing is, the articles that I think they (school officials) are against are articles very similar to things we've had in the past.''
Brittany said she wrote a column in August 2004 about sex education similar to the latest article that irked administrators, and her effort won a first-place award in a Tennessee Press Association contest.
Brittany said the confiscated editions also contained an article advising the students to refrain from sex until marriage.
"Tattoos and piercings is something we do every year,'' Brittany said. "For it to be pulled out is ridiculous.''
Brittany said the student newspaper includes "advertisers with dated coupons.''
"Those advertisers are going to be upset that their coupons aren't getting out,'' she said.
In fifty years there are gonna be a LOT of grandmas trying to explain those mishappen bits of "art" on their torsos, breasts, upper butts, etc. I'd feel badly for these morons, but they chose to do tis to themselves.
Tattoos ARE a wonderful nad often amazing artform, but the plethora of shabby and sordid tatts are an insult to the art.
I've been around enough real "Old Navy" types to know that tattoos do not get better looking with age.
One gay article would have "saved" the issue.
Interesting that you never hear of the need for the budding journalists to learn what "editorial control" is all about or the concept of not torking off the publisher.
No, more like tomorrow. Employers cleverly know how to dish off a candidate with a series of tattoos on their knuckles and a bull ring through the nose, and maybe some metal thingy through the brow. Their college degree is rendered irrelevant.
You are right though on the long term effects...
While we all pay for our excesses of youth, there is no more stupid indulgent thing on an order of magnitude as labeling yourself as human signage, permanently.
FWIW, a lot of colleges are shutting down their college newspapers and journalism departments. Texas A&M shut theirs down in 2003. I think a lot of it comes back to the colleges not wanting anything printed about them that isn't under the control of the powers that be. I wouldn't be surprised to find high schools doing the same thing. The ACLU may come in and tell you you can't censor a student, but they can't make you publish a newspaper.
In one way, this is a shame. However, a lot of the free speech arguments are based on a faulty assumptions. Basically, the argument goes that the only way to protect free speech is by protecting the most reprehensible speech. While there's a grain of truth in this, in another way, it's like saying the only way to protect the right to drive is by defending the most irresponsible driving.
It won't take fifty years. Pregnancy can do a number on tattoos. My husband is an obstetrician and says he has seen some very distorted ones.
Tattoos ARE a wonderful nad...
Heh....heheh....He said "nad"......heheh
In our public high school, the newspaper and the yearbook publications are handled by students enrolled in a class for credit. The school has FULL control over the publications.
doncha just LOVE typos?
I *hope* you understood what I was trying to say, typo or not.
At least, all the correct letters were there in the word *AND*, unlike some other's "oopses".
Schnee, schnah, schnumph!
And this has newspaper staffers and students alike upset.
"It's nothing new for us to explain these controversial issues," the paper's Editor-in-Chief Brittany Thomas, a senior, said Wednesday afternoon.
"I won a first-place award from the Tennessee Press Association for an article very similar to this one," she said, referring to the article written by another student.
"It's very upsetting. This is a good, solid story.
"The school administration should realize they don't have the power to censor our paper," Thomas said, while fellow students gathered around her living room late Wednesday afternoon to hand-paint T-shirts they plan to wear to school on Monday in protest.
"When they (the general population) see a pregnant girl, they say the girl should know better," senior Samantha Senn said. "But in a lot of cases, they (the girls) don't know anything."
Other students said they think not allowing the paper to be distributed at school is "ridiculous."
I've said for years now that in the future there will be a great demand to get rid of body art as painlessly as possible, and without unsightly scars or blemishes. This will drive technology to accomplish the technology. It will be expensive at first but then come down.
Anybody with some fun investment money should find companies on the case and invest in them now. I would.