Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Warping the 1st.


Shasta High published its last issue of the Volcano, the student newspaper, before the end of classes last week with an image on the front page of a student burning the American flag and an editorial inside defending the practice.

We could get into arguments from now until eternity regarding the right to burn the American flag. For the record, I'm a pretty staunch supporter of the 1st Amendment, including the results from Texas vs. Johnson. However when comes to public education, especially at the high school level, the 1st Amendment becomes more constricted. Anything that consistently disrupts the educational process can be, in theory, tossed out the Constitutional window (unless you wear Tigger socks).

The picture above is the front page of the Volcano, Shasta High School's student newspaper. Apparently a student that wanted to get noticed decided to get the offending picture of the flag burning put on the front page, around the editor and faculty advisor. The result was another slamming of the First Amendment, the elimination of the newspaper as a whole.

"The paper's done," said Milan Woollard, Shasta High principal. "There is not going to be a school newspaper next year."

Now wait a minute. It is obvious that the offensive picture was a ploy by a bitter Senior to get some attention thrown his way. Basically, it was a very immature choice. The principal then tears down the school newspaper, in essence a reaction that is on the same level as the student that got the image on the front of the paper in the first place. Am I missing something? I seems very obvious that a more adult consequence is in order. It looks like many students on the paper are just as disgusted as the administration, so how about we encourage good reporting by keeping the paper going with a closer eye by the school.

A school has plenty of students making immature choices. The adults don't need to follow along.

Here's a little more info.

Update 6/20:

Looks like the district super reversed the principal's decision on closing down the newspaper after the incoming editor-in-chief, student Amanda Cope, promised more responsiblity and newsworthy items. In the end, the real winner is Cope, who had the guts to respectfully fight for the newspaper. Best of luck to her and the Volcano.

More here.

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