Stop the Censorship of Student Journalism

Stop+the+Censorship+of+Student+Journalism

If you are out of the loop and trust me, I wouldn’t be surprised after all exams and testing, a serious situation happened at Lynman Highschool in Longwood, Florida.

The Greyhound, Lyman Highschool’s yearbook was almost censored by the school’s superintendent Monday. After including a section about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill walkout in their yearbook, the administration attempted to cover the pictures with stickers. The reasoning behind this was that the section in the yearbook made it seem like the walkout was being endorsed by the school-sponsored, which violated their policy.

This seems reasonable, considering that the Supreme Court case of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier gives all the right to schools to stop or censor students’ publications. But the catch for this is that they can only do it when students’ publications are not appropriate for school.

Lyman’s yearbook included a section of their GSA club, which already featured things like pride flags. Their yearbook, especially the section about the walkout, was totally appropriate for school.

This is censorship, and it is not acceptable.

There was really no reason for the stickers. Other schools in the Seminole district had sections of the walkout with no restrictions, unlike Lyman

The clear explanation, at least in my humble opinion, is that the school was trying to get rid of the account of the event.

The censorship, as little as it can be with a sticker, was trying to stop history. Student protest is protected by the tinker standard. This means that students have the right to protest and free expression, only if it doesn’t disrupt teaching and harms anyone.

The “don’t say gay” walkout was just that. The yearbook is an account of this event. Censorship tries to erase or re-write history. It’s trying to forget that this moment when many students made their voices heard, exercised their right to assembly, and demonstrated their compassion to friends, teachers, and family to the harmful bill. The administration didn’t hold those views and decided to cover up their problem instead of reaching out.

The takeaway from all this is that first as an encouragement to us all in the face of adversity, we can all make a difference. The school board voted 5-0 in the students’ favor after objection and protest of the decision and thankfully, this situation was stopped.

Second, we as citizens of a free democracy should be more outraged when things like this happen. This might be a small thing to most, but for a good majority, it almost erased a pivotal moment in their lives. This is not right, and it should never happen again.