Readers split on restricted student paper

Project: Reader Reaction

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked about Clovis school administrators reviewing stories in the high school newspaper prior to publication. Some responses:

“All publications are subject to review by someone. The whole purpose is to prevent errors, statements that could be libelous, etc. The student journalists need to realize that even the editor of the Clovis News Journal is subject to scrutiny by someone.”
— Michael Williams, Clovis

“… There is such a thing as freedom of the press. … They have a right to publish any item of interest as well as the administration has the right to their voice, in print, for any rebuttal of articles being published.”
— Gerald Majewski, Clovis

“We say we want our children to learn to be independent and to be able to think on their feet. Well it’s about time that all of us step back and let the students do what (Instructor Carol) Singletary is teaching them — good journalism.”
— Charles F. Hemphill, Clovis

“I understand the enthusiasm and passion of the student journalists. But the point is, it is the high school’s newspaper. It is the job of the teachers and administrators to support and nurture the budding creativity of the students; to guide them and teach them about journalism, responsibilities, and the real world.”
— Gail Adkins, Clovis

“I believe that the students should have the right to publish whatever they want as long as it is appropriate for school since they have the Constitutional right to free speech. To have school officials edit everything the Purple Press prints would be taking this right away.”
— Zane Dalton, Clovis

“Purple Press was reviewed for subject matter when I was in school in 1983-1985 (so) it shouldn’t be any different now.”
— Janet Mason, Clovis

“Let’s say the publisher of a local paper nixed a story put forth by the editor … Let’s then say the editor went into the streets of the city passing out and posting fliers protesting the publisher’s decision and casting aspersions on the publisher’s character. What would happen to that editor? Seems to me the editor would probably be fired.”
— Brent McBee, Clovis

“I believe that an atmosphere of academic guidance is appropriate in most instances of school-sponsored newspapers. The key word is guidance, not interference.”
— Raymond E. Atchley, Clovis

“I believe that although we live in a country that boasts freedom of speech, a newspaper will and usually does edit so not to offend anyone and also to be politically correct. We all know even in America you can’t really say what you want.
“Personally I don’t like it, you should be able to say what’s on your mind, so the students might as well get used to it. In this country if you want to say what you want you need to own the paper you’re saying it in. So kids: Keep studying, graduate and buy your own newspaper company.”
— Steve Gershon, Clovis

“It’s hard to say much that Allison Jaramillo hasn’t already said (in a Thursday guest column). Perhaps they are trying to educate the students on how Saddam Hussein ruled his fascist regime.
“Unfortunately, this same tactic is employed throughout every military publication throughout the U.S. armed forces. While any editor with common sense omits offensive language, we should never censor offensive ideas. It’s absurd to solicit free thought and then turn around and say it’s not OK to think that way.
“This has all resulted in a society full of people that are afraid to tell you what they think because they’re worried about offending someone. I’d rather be offended and know my neighbor than to live among people that can’t even tell me how they feel.”
— Richard Lopes, Clovis

“I believe in freedom of speech as prescribed by the Constitution. I believe that students have that right to be heard in their own words. They should have the right to say whatever they want to say regardless of what the administration thinks. I think the students should also publish these thoughts on their own paper, on their own time, using their own ink, their own presses and distribute their thoughts on their own property.
“Come on people, these are students. They are there to learn and we are there to teach them about life. Lesson one at school should be the same as that at home: Abide by the rules set by adults for children. If you are unhappy about their decision or the rules, move out into the real world and find out freedom of speech, as any other right, comes at a cost.”
— Jim Sitterly, Clovis