Should schools be allowed to censor student publications?

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Ed Sundt (not verified)

The purpose of a school is

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The purpose of a school is to educate, and this goes beyond the information and skills of the classroom. If a student publication is subject to review and censorship, there probably is little educating going on. If, however, students are made aware of the larger audience that will see the publication --- from young children to concerned parents to old alumni --- taught what is appropriate, helped to see what is foolish, made to understand what is offensive and why, then they may be on the way to being wiser people able to publish something that engages and enlightens the readers.
Steve Wagenseller (not verified)

I wonder if we are all

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I wonder if we are all thinking alike in terms of censorship? When we are talking about things profane and offensive, that is certainly a quality issue and should be dealt with in the journal's mission statement or in some code of ethics subscribed to by the student journalists. A good editor will recognize this and take action, and a competent faculty advisor will know how to make the issue clear to the writer. But what about killing a story in a newspaper because the information is -- from an administrative perspective -- deemed bad for the school's image? Isn't this the kind of censorship that we worry about, especially when the reporter has done her job and the facts check out?
L Stieglitz (not verified)

This is something I struggle

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This is something I struggle to vote on, as stated. While I feel students should be allowed to express their ideas, they should not be profane or offensive. Herein lies my dilemma: Who gets to decide what is profane or offensive? Where does the censorship stop? Will this type of censorship lead to more control? Anyone publishing an article has an underlying ethical responsibility to use appropriate language and subject matter, but are today's students being taught these ethics? Overall, I would say that complete censorship of student publications is a violation of the first amendment, but there must be understood standards and expectations set forth by the school and if the students don't abide by the rules, then what they are writing should not be published.
Rory McLeod (not verified)

A wonderful young adult book

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A wonderful young adult book that touches on the idea of censhorship of student publications is The Revealers. I highly recommend this book for anyone who teaches middle school or high school. Not only is it an entertaining read, the topics addressed in the book are timely: popularity, bullying, censorship, responsible use of freedom of speech, etc.
Larry J. Thomas (not verified)

I am a former high school

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I am a former high school journalism teacher. I always fought with the administration about freedom of speech . I fought for my students to be able to express themselves in a sensible and responsible manner. that was over twenty years ago when I was in the classroom. Today, I would want to be able to sensor and provide crucial criticism to help keep some sense of morality in writing. I am not convinced that chidren today will rightfully give the kind of respect and objectivity needed in today's society. I thoroughly support some form of sensorship in the print media. Larry J. Thomas, Ed.D.
K. Nicolaus (not verified)

While I do not believe in

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While I do not believe in censorship perse, I do believe that it is the take of the teacher/advisors to teach students responsible journalism. A quality publication is not slanderous, insulting, or rude. It does not misinform or offer one sided reporting. When student publications do these things, it is obvious the students have not been taught to thoroughly understand the purpose and true power of the press.
Bruce Jones (not verified)

Yes, but because students

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Yes, but because students both lack restraint (are seeking boundaries) and lack critical facilities (due to lack of parental training or minimal/limited social exposure) to determine what is appropriate, that is why they have teachers (us). It is not only our responsibility to fill their heads with content, but to help create moral and ethical guidelines to help them make good judgments through their lives and careers. Allowing students unbridled "reign" to create publicly distributed literature, sends a wrong message that any kind of behavior is acceptable, and I don't know about your work, dating, or family experiences, but in my world I am subject to rules of decorum, good taste, and appropriate behavior, be it physical or verbal. Despite my best efforts, I still graduate students with perfect job performance skills who cannot hold a job because of poor verbal, writing, and social/work skills.
Michael Mahony (not verified)

The free execise of rights

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The free execise of rights granted to citizens under the Bill of Rights is a precious thing. It does, however, come with responsibility. (Free speech does not entitle you to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater.) The limits on "free speech" generally preclude dangerous, hateful or libelous speech. I beleive we want our students to learn ways of expressing ideas in ways that will get others to listen. Our role as educators requires that we teach responsibility. Censorship is not the same as teaching, nor is it the same as editing (as in previous comment). Material prepared for publication may need to be edited or even omitted. But the Faculty Advisor should be prepared to use those decisions to teach responsible free speech. School Authorities, not engaged in teaching, should be prevented from meddling in student publications. Distastful and, ultimately undemocratic, censorship occurs when School or Local Government groups attempt to prevent publication of sound and responsibly presented ideas.
Chuck Fellows (not verified)

School Districts, School

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School Districts, School Boards and indivdual schools/administrators are not qualified to judge the appropriateness of student generated content. Nor are individual parents or parent groups/special interests. Putting that aside, the 'adult' world has abused the privilege granted to them in law to control the behavior of the child to the point that public education is literally killing the individuals desire to learn and other inherent cognitive abilities. All this in order to create the illusion of controlling the content and inner workings of the human mind. That's a bit foolish, isn't it? You would hope that the adult world could become a little more introspective and realize the problem is their educational and behavioral paradigm. Its not the kids that are the barrier to a meaningful education.
caleb parson (not verified)

Censorship is a dirty word.

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Censorship is a dirty word. At the same time, being the publisher carries responsibility. If a school is acting as the publisher, the duty to make sure that published materials fall within institutional and community guidlines lies with the supervisor/ editor in charge. Student authors should of course be encouraged to express thier own style and views but a school publication may not be the right venue for material that others would find offensive.
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