Monday, March 19, 2007

NPR : Justices Hear 'Bong Hits' Free-Speech Case: "Morning Edition, March 19, 2007 · The Supreme Court re-examines the rights of students to exercise free speech in school. Justices will hear a case involving a student from Alaska, who is suing his school district. He was suspended after displaying a banner near his school that read 'Bong Hits for Jesus.'"

Interesting story this morning on NPR. I pondered it in relation to the recent Ft. Wayne-area story in the news about the Woodburn high school student editor whose pro-gay editorial caused the East Allen school system to enforce their "censorship rights" on student newspapers. (I looked for a link to a story about this, but couldn't fine one. Strange.)

And it caused me to reminisce about my own high-school experience, when my co-editor Kurt wrote an editorial about the plethora of assemblies with Christian speakers our principal (an enthusiastic Baptist) scheduled. (Not that Kurt was any atheist, he and I both being United Methodist type of kids). Said principal was not pleased with the editorial, and called ME into the office to ream me out about it, consequently pissing me off on two levels (one, taking the fall for Kurt, and two, being censored).

Kurt became an attorney (and I'm sure this incident was a part of his impetus), and I have worked in journalism on and off my entire career, so I hope the kids involved realize that sometimes the very problems we encounter as students end up having very interesting and life-guiding results.

And, just for the record, while I think any school-publications editorial should be discussed with the newspaper adviser, and his/her advice taken into consideration, I'm really disturbed by the thought of the principal censoring young journalists.

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