Sunday, April 03, 2005

No Wonder We're in Deep Shit

"Who cares if the government censors articles before they're published? Prior restraint, schmior restraint. The Principal did it all the time when I was in High School. No biggie."

ARKANSAS – Fordyce High School officials announced at a school board meeting on March 14 that they plan to fire the teacher who advises the student newspaper, Jennifer Baker, who claims a recently instituted policy–requiring principal Bobby Brown to review articles before publication–violates the Arkansas Student Publications Act.

Baker opposes the policy and said it needs to be repealed or rewritten.

The Arkansas Student Publications Act requires school districts to adopt policies allowing students the right to express themselves, including the right of expression in school-sponsored publications. Student expression is permitted whether the publication is created on school grounds, financially supported by the school or operates as part of a course.

Brown introduced his policy on Jan. 27 after objecting to content in two issues of the newspaper, including an article that was critical of the school’s test schedule and a student’s quote regarding her Valentine’s Day plans to, "Cook for [my boyfriend] and watch a few love videos. Maybe a little later on something special will go down." The administration perceived the quote as sexual and inappropriate.

Brown said Baker had failed to "properly supervise," which had resulted in "inaccuracies" and "distasteful content" being published in the newspaper."

Student Press Law Center