It’s not about Censorship, it’s about responsibility: Censorship in schools Kirsten Heck
Cheney High School
The article argues that book banning and censoring the student newspapers threaten the right to a free press and speech granted to the people in the U.S. under the First Amendment of the Constitution. The First Amendment allows citizens the right to access, to publish or to broadcast any content as long as it doesn’t. However, it is noted that censorship of publications challenges the freedom of expression and the right to free press. The negative implications of censorship are also discussed, along with the role of obscenity in publication.
The question at hand is if students should have to leave their first amendment rights at the school house gate? The voices of the young people are just as important as anyone elses. If students want to express themselves openly and blatantly, they should be able to do so. School publications should not be censored due to the sensitivity of other students and the issues that the administrations face. Students should not be deprived of their constitutional rights, including freedom of press. Censorship is the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts. The arguments regarding censorship has become a big deal in the past 20 years but it has been around for so much longer than that. Censorship dates back to Rome in 399 BC, where Socrates was sentenced to drink poison for his acknowledgement of unorthodox divinities (Newth). Free speech which includes the freedom of expression was a challenge throughout the pre-Christian era. It became an even bigger problem in the mid-15th century with the invention of the printing press. Most school newspapers were closely reviewed and restricted by administrators. Discussions about drug use, drinking, racial tensions, and criticism of school management or faculty were rarely allowed. Yet in the 1960s battles began to develop between student journalists and administrators. The students had become politically involved and wanted to write about issues they considered more important to the public. Moines independent school case in 1969 as the decision affirmed the rights of students to express themselves (Source10). This decision gave way to other topics including censorship with student’s newspapers. Many people have argued that students first amendment rights are not covered they are in school, but they do not shed their first amendment rights when they enter the school. The rules do change when you come into a school but it may be treated differently depending on if the school is a public or private school. Public schools cannot sensor their students because they are “acting on the behalf” of the government and therefore cannot be
sensor under the first amendment. Since private schools are not funded by the government and are not seen as its representative the same way that public schools are (Lyons).
Another if not the most influential case regarding censorship was that of Hazelwood School district vs. Kuhlmeier. In this case a high school principal reviewing the student newspaper before publication asked the journalism advisor to remove two articles that he deemed inappropriate and too sensitive for younger students. The first article dealt with the impact of divorce on students. The article quoted four others about their parents’ behavior. The second discussed teen pregnancy. It included the experiences of three unnamed students, but with enough detail that other students could identify them from the few pregnant teens at the school (Jacobs, 2006). Since Hazelwood, there has been a dramatic rise in censorship incidents in schools across the country. Acts of censorship can take many forms. Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, says, It may be outright censorship they can't publish a story or an attempt to punish, either the students or in some...
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