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Students blog after high school shuts paper

After a Georgia high school eliminated its student newspaper and journalism class because the paper highlighted negative stories, the student staff responded by posting their opinions and copies of the newspaper on a blog, Speaking Underground.

"While we understand that the administration wants Pebblebrook portrayed in the best light possible, that does not give them the right to silence the voice of this school," the students wrote. "It shouldn't be a secret that we have students who bring guns on campus or that we have teen mothers trying to juggle family responsibilities and school."

The students have posted PDFs of the newspaper and say, "We invite you to read BrookSpeak and decide for yourself how balanced the coverage was for news and feature stories by these first time student journalists."

What do you think?

May 26, 2005 | E-MAIL | SAVE | PRINT | PERMALINK | DISCUSS(15)



Discussion

15 comments about 'Students blog after high school shuts paper'

It is ironic that this situation will probably teach the students more about the value of the First Amendment than any classroom ever could. I hope they go on to take over CNN so we can get some real news.
CHEERS!

Posted by johnnyuber at May 27, 2005 2:15 AM

The school administration probably does have the right to silence students' voices. The point of high-school journalism is not to shock or disturb readers; local professional journalism ought to be taking care of that. What students learn in high school is how to coordinate the complex responsibilities of actually getting a newspaper published at all.

Blogs will certainly show adminstrations, however, that censorship can be worked around. We are in the early days of testing students' freedom to blog. I recall an item reporting that some students in Northern France had been expelled and more after publishing raw material about teachers in their blogs - but I don't know what was said or what the full penalties were. Courts everywhere will be wrestling with fixing a frontier between the permissible and the impermissible.

Posted by R J Keefe at May 27, 2005 6:05 PM

R J Keefe writes, "The school administration probably does have the right to silence students' voices. The point of high-school journalism is not to shock or disturb readers..."

Frankly, I'm shocked to hear any rational, sane citizen of this country write this. What gives you the authority or qualifications to say what the point of high school journalism is? And if it's not to be a model of professional journalism -- which is often to shock and disturb readers by often presenting shocking and disturbing information -- than what is the point? It's not to serve as a newsletter for the high school's administration, which is how most administrators with no regard for the First Amendment view it.

I'm bothered by what happened to these students because my high school principal also tried to censor our paper when I was editor, simply for shedding light on how the district had spent thousands of dollars on "career" books for freshman that weren't being used. It was well researched and nothing was libelous. But it's because the principal was more considered with PR for the school than with his students' rights that he tried to censor us and threatened to cancel the class.

I can only guess that R J Keefe is either a high school administrator or one of a growing number of people in this country who care nothing of our Constitution and freedom of speech.

I encourage these students to keep fighting and to try suing the school for a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Posted by Clayton at May 31, 2005 1:32 PM

I am a student journalist in Denver, CO. It is outrageous that the newspaper was silenced. As student papers, we're protected by various free press laws, not to mention the 1st amendment! You should protest this fascist ruling and if nothing else find an independent sponsor to continue printing.

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Posted by vinay kumar at February 15, 2007 6:24 AM

i used to go to Pebble Brook High School and my opinion is that they should have some kind of freedom to what they are saying thier not saying anything that is false their just simply telling the truth about things.

Posted by Irania at March 8, 2007 9:45 AM

Bravo students..freedom of speech still exists.
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Posted by maasaipress at May 23, 2009 5:39 PM

I am sorry your paper was shut down. I was a newspaper sponsor one year and it's a wonderful job to get to see the paper birthed. I was on my high school paper too. Wish you could have worked it out with your administrators. They do have a tough job to do.

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That's not a democracy
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Posted by smith.george at April 25, 2010 4:45 AM

I'm bothered by what happened to these students because my high school principal also tried to censor our paper when I was editor, simply for shedding light on how the district had spent thousands of dollars on "career" books for freshman that weren't being used. It was well researched and nothing was libelous. But it's because the principal was more considered with PR for the school than with his students' rights that he tried to censor us and threatened to cancel the class.

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"Students blog after high school ahuts paper"
Trackback excerpt:   "After a Georgia high school eliminated its student newspaper and journalism class because the paper highlighted negative stories, the student staff responded by posting their opinions and copies of the newspaper on a blog, Speaking Underground." Relat... [Read More]

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The role of weblogs in student journalism
Trackback excerpt:   Following a link from Cyberjournalist.net I came across an interesting story that I can't help writing about. At my HS I was an assistant editor for the school newspaper and the editor of the school yearbook. I remember how hard [Read More]

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