Mighty Red Pen

June 12, 2008

Freedom of speech for me but not for thee

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 6:01 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As an editor of my high school paper, I had some run-ins with the school administration along the lines of defending our (the students’) rights to publish certain things in the paper, including items that were critical of the administration (I know, you’re astonished to hear this). So I was interested in a recent story regarding students at Shasta High School in Redding, Calif., who ran a picture of a burning U.S. flag on the front of the student newspaper and were shut down for their troubles:

Shasta High School Principal Milan Woollard said the school year’s final issue of the student-run Shasta High Volcano was embarrassing.

“The paper’s done,” Woollard told the Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding. “There is not going to be a school newspaper next year.”

Here’s the other side of the story:

[Editor-in-chief Connor Kennedy] told The Associated Press he chose the topic because he had just studied flag burning in a class on government.

“I’m deeply saddened, and I find it terribly ironic a high school newspaper would be shut down for exercising free speech — particularly when the curriculum being taught was that this was free speech,” Kennedy said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Read the whole story. (As an interesting side note, Shasta High School was #998 on Newsweek‘s list of the top 1300 high schools in the country.)

MRP sort of thinks there is possibly more to this story than meets the eye (for example, the school insists that due to a budget crisis, the paper was on the chopping block anyway). However, it’s an interesting issue. What do others think of this — should a high school paper be allowed to run something like this? Whatever it wants? Should there be limits?



  1. I say if the principal wants the authority to shut the newspaper down, then HE should be proofing the stories and photos before they get published. Were there no guidelines set beforehand? Overreaction seems to be the only reaction these days. {SIGH!}

    Comment by Margaret — June 13, 2008 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Margaret, Thanks for commenting — I’m tickled to get a visit from “Nanny Goats In Panties.” 🙂

    Comment by mighty red pen — June 14, 2008 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

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