Sep 11, 2009

First Amendment lesson

Another school year has begun and another high school principal has tried to stop the publication of a student newspaper over an uncomfortable, but factual, article.

Sue Vaughn, principal at Santa Ana's Orange County High School of the Arts, a public charter school, halted publication of the student-run "Evolution" newspaper over a report that the cafeteria's private food vendor, Alegre, was on a mission "to serve God."

From the Orange County Register:

Vaughn confirmed Thursday that Alegre's religious affiliation was one of the factors that led her to authorize the printing delay, but denied trying to censor the students' work.

"We're in no way trying to censor anything," Vaughn said Thursday. "We were given the copy to look at after it was sent to the printer. There were errors in it that need to be corrected, and then the printing will be continued."

Alegre's religious proclivity is factually correct – that's evident from the company's Web site – but Vaughn noted that a school official had been misquoted in that article. ...
Vaughn never makes clear what the misquote was (wouldn't a correction have taken care of that?) and the reporter stood by her story.

As usually happens in such cases, the freaked out administrators trying to censor the article have drawn more attention to it than if they'd simply let it run.

(via Romenesko)

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