Alex Blaze

Fort Wayne area principal retaliates against pro-gay student editorial

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 21, 2007 5:03 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bullying, censorship, fort wayne, Indiana, school

Speaking of high school, some Woodlan school administrators are acting pretty adolescent themselves. The principal is all mad over a student editorial in the school paper that said that it's OK to be gay. You can read the full text of the editorial at Advance Indiana.

The principal's retaliation, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, was to review the newspaper before every publication from now on and to threaten the newspaper's factulty adviser's job.

An opinion piece on homosexuality by sophomore Megan Chase in the paper's Jan. 19 edition prompted Principal Edwin Yoder to order future issues to go through him before being distributed to the school's 700 students in grades 7-12. Board policy allows such "prior review."


Yoder issued Sorrell [the newspaper's faculty adviser] a written warning that stated any other incidents could lead to disciplinary action, including termination.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette has more on the legal issue:
Adam Goldstein, attorney at the Student Press Law Center, said the Woodlan situation does not fall under the Supreme Court precedent, which permits a school to interfere with student expression only when it can provide a legitimate educational basis for doing so.

In the Hazelwood case, school officials were able to prove the articles went against what was being taught in the classroom.

"If students are not being taught tolerance in the classroom, their problem is much larger than this particular incident," Goldstein said.

I'd go a bit further than Mr. Goldstein does, because in order to prove that it went against what's being taught in the classroom, they'd have to prove that intolerance of queer people is being taught in the classroom. This only bolsters my point that administrative inaction against systemic harassment of GLBT youth is an endorsement of it.

Ultimately, this principal's actions are the exact opposite of the kind of censorship allowed by the Supreme Court, because teaching tolerance in class helps to prevent the disruption of many students' education.

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