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[Oak Ridge] School paper pulled by officials
Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 11/24/5 | BOB FOWLER

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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: nihilism; studentnewspaper

1 posted on 11/23/2005 9:41:16 PM PST by SmithL
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To: SmithL
Juvenilia is not considered to be legally protected speech
The High School Newspaper is more correctly viewed as a
Teaching tool for possible future journalists

Students do not have the "right" to publish whatever they want
without correction by adults.

The also better get used to the idea that, as an adult
the Editor of the newspaper
can yank their article for any reason, then fire them
2 posted on 11/23/2005 9:52:20 PM PST by HangnJudge
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To: SmithL

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.


3 posted on 11/23/2005 9:53:10 PM PST by Don W (Stress is when you wake up screaming, and then you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.)
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To: Don W

I've been around enough real "Old Navy" types to know that tattoos do not get better looking with age.


4 posted on 11/23/2005 9:57:48 PM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: SmithL

One gay article would have "saved" the issue.


5 posted on 11/23/2005 9:58:55 PM PST by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: SmithL

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.


6 posted on 11/23/2005 10:00:08 PM PST by NonValueAdded (CNN: I dub thee Richard X)
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To: Don W
In fifty years

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.

7 posted on 11/23/2005 10:14:20 PM PST by quantim (Detroit is the New Orleans of the north. It was settled by the French.)
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To: NonValueAdded
Well, it's not like any newspapers will be left when they get out of college, anyway.

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.

8 posted on 11/23/2005 10:14:33 PM PST by Richard Kimball (Tenure is the enemy of excellence.)
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To: Don W
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,

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.

9 posted on 11/23/2005 10:26:26 PM PST by knuthom
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To: Don W

Tattoos ARE a wonderful nad...

Heh....heheh....He said "nad"......heheh

10 posted on 11/23/2005 10:36:26 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Base. All Yours = Mine.)
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To: SmithL
http://oakridger.com/

Seems to have plenty of backgrounder info on the "Oak Leaf" (student newspaper) and persons related to in the article. Must register though.
11 posted on 11/23/2005 10:47:09 PM PST by endthematrix (Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse)
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To: endthematrix
Now we understand their kind of education:


12 posted on 11/23/2005 10:53:54 PM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: SmithL
Since you registered, I'm curious about "Brittany Thomas" article that won that award. I'm sure she writes PC crap.
13 posted on 11/23/2005 11:02:20 PM PST by endthematrix (Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse)
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To: Richard Kimball

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.


14 posted on 11/23/2005 11:08:08 PM PST by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
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To: Psycho_Bunny

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!


15 posted on 11/23/2005 11:18:05 PM PST by Don W (Stress is when you wake up screaming, and then you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.)
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To: endthematrix
I couldn't actually find the Oak Leaf online, but here's an excerpt from the Oak Ridger

http://oakridger.com/stories/112405/new_20051123016.shtml

Too sexy? Student paper confiscated

By: Leean Tupper | Oak Ridge Staff
leean.tupper@oakridger.com

The Oak Leaf, the monthly school newspaper written and produced by students at Oak Ridge High School, wasn't distributed Wednesday because of one particular article and some of its content dealing with sex and birth control methods, according to the paper's editor-in-chief.

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."


Brittany Thomas, editor of the Oak Ridge High School newspaper, is upset students are being denied access to The Oak Leaf's latest edition.

16 posted on 11/23/2005 11:20:04 PM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: Don W
In fifty years there are gonna be a LOT of grandmas trying to explain those misshapen bits of "art" on their torsos, breasts, upper butts, etc.

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.

17 posted on 11/23/2005 11:23:54 PM PST by HitmanLV (Listen to my demos for Savage Nation contest: http://www.geocities.com/mr_vinnie_vegas/index.html)
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To: endthematrix
Oh, Oh, Oh, I don't know how I missed it before. Look at the T-Shirt the guy has. No wonder that edition about birth control got pulled.
18 posted on 11/23/2005 11:26:01 PM PST by SmithL (There are a lot of people that hate Bush more than they hate terrorists)
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To: SmithL

LOL!


19 posted on 11/23/2005 11:38:02 PM PST by endthematrix (Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse)
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To: SmithL

Idiots!


20 posted on 11/24/2005 2:50:57 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: SmithL

Freedom of the press applies only to the publisher.


21 posted on 11/24/2005 7:18:14 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: SmithL; odoso; animoveritas; mercygrace; Laissez-faire capitalist; bellevuesbest; Unam Sanctam; ...

Moral Absolutes Ping.

Happy Thanks Giving!

In the meanwhile, I'll do a few pings.

"Censorship Got Me Pregnant"

Gotta laugh at that. You mean no one ever told her that storks don't bring babies? These kids need (IMO): student uniforms, a little more disicpline, to get off the internet chat rooms, no R or X rated "entertainment", do a little more physical exercise, live with both parents who spend time with them, hopefully attend a house of worship, and realize that they are KIDS and don't get to call the shots.

Freepmail me if you want on/off this pinglist.


22 posted on 11/24/2005 7:42:01 AM PST by little jeremiah
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To: SmithL

Let's see if I got this right. The kiddies parade around campus with tats, and studs and every other contraption through their skin for all to see, but you can't put an article about it in the student paper.


23 posted on 11/24/2005 7:46:42 AM PST by bigsigh
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