School lead­ers make bad call on news story

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Could it be that su­per sen­si­tive school ad­min­is­tra­tion can’t seem to abide one word of neg­a­tiv­ity and view their school news­pa­per as a pub­lic re­la­tions rag? Stop the presses, be­cause that’s not jour­nal­ism.

As a re­cently re­tired high school news­pa­per ad­viser, I un­der­stand ad­min­is­tra­tors (prin­ci­pals and su­per­in­ten­dents) who want to main­tain some control, but that’s where they might con­sider a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with the news­pa­per staff and ad­viser, and sim­ply ask for a heads up on con­tro­ver­sial sto­ries. That’s how we rolled at Fayet­teville High for 18 years while I was ad­viser. In my last year, num­ber 19, I was or­dered to al­low our prin­ci­pal to re­view each ar­ti­cle and opin­ion piece BE­FORE pub­li­ca­tion. He viewed this as be­ing an ed­i­tor while I viewed it as prior re­straint.

The law en­acted in 1995 states spe­cific grounds for halt­ing stu­dent pub­li­ca­tions.

None of those rea­sons ex­isted at Har-Ber, but ad­min­is­tra­tion did it nonethe­less be­cause some­one might get their feel­ings hurt.

This is a stu­dent news­pa­per and a teach­ing tool. But the story is now a lot big­ger since ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cided to pull the plug on the pa­per in­stead of just let­ting the story go.

What are ad­min­is­tra­tors truly teach­ing our stu­dent re­porters when this is how they treat them? GENIECE YATES Fayet­teville

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