Wednesday, November 30, 2005

School Civics Lesson

Freedom of the press. Unless we decide otherwise. - Tennessee high school newspaper seized - Nov 28, 2005: "Copies of a high school's student newspaper were seized by administrators because the edition contained stories about birth control and tattoos, stirring a First Amendment debate.

Administrators at Oak Ridge High School went into teachers' classrooms, desks and mailboxes to retrieve all 1,800 copies of the newspaper Tuesday, said teacher Wanda Grooms, who advises the staff, and Brittany Thomas, the student editor.

The Oak Leaf's birth control article listed success rates for different methods and said contraceptives were available from doctors and the local health department. Superintendent Tom Bailey said the article needed to be edited so it would be acceptable for the entire school.

The edition also contained a photo of an unidentified student's tattoo, and the student had not told her parents about the tattoo, said Superintendent Tom Bailey."
As if they don't know now. If the photo of a tattoo had been Jenna and notJenna would the article still have been pulled (probably, lol)? This was about the content and only the content. That birth control article was the real culprit. Science isn't real big in that area of the country and just stating the facts is threatening the status quo. Kids might start asking questions!

When I was in Acupuncture school something like this also happened. It wasn't an official paper, just a one off put out by two very angry/funny students and one irritated teacher. It was called the Needle and it was hilarious. Freaking hilarious. They ripped on everybody, but the dean Jack Miller had it stuck to him several times, all funny. We had these tacky mailboxes of hanging file folders with our names on them that were located in a hallway. Open access and a great messaging system for nonsecure paperwork. Well, one day this "rag" shows up in our mailboxes and a few hours later the administration goes through everyone's folder and removes said offending item. I got to school about five minutes later and pitched a fit. Mailboxes were for people to put in and individuals to take out, besides humor is good for the soul. I was irritated by what they said about me and that was the whole point, but it was funny and I'm a grown adult.

Just like this school, this administration and my school, they never learned a few basic lessons about life. The more you struggle to regulate thought after it has hit the public's attention, the more light you bring to the issue you are trying to hide. Especially with teenagers. Taking back the paper only made students aware that there was something they were not supposed to see and that it must be pretty juicy. The information will get out and tattoo girl is now doubly mortified because the story went from high school to CNN. Way to go.

Copies of The Needle appeared in the break room, library and odd places around the school. By the next day everyone had a copy.

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