Saturday, August 30, 2008

And before we even get started . . .

Yesterday I learned of a meeting between district officials and the high school principals regarding student first amendment rights. Regulation 3220R. In this board regulation the district asserts severe limitations on students' first amendment privileges. While I believe this is aimed particularly at the three high school newspapers/newsmagazines, there are also limits on student plays (which I believe may be more aimed at groups such as ER's Hypocritz.) You can examine this regulation here

This is a nasty business. There is a process for both prior approval of the paper's content as well as prior restraint of its distribution. The regulation calls for the principal to review the content of the paper and return it within 24 hours with deletions, corrections whatever. The adviser becomes the first line of censorship.

This is horrifying news. The question is what to do? I believe the regulation presents two problems (beyond the needless compulsion to limit student self-expression.) First, material that is subject to censorship is vague and way open to interpretation. It's a disciplinary action waiting to happen. This must be clarified to work effectively with the policy until, hopefully, it is rescinded or changed. Secondly, we must devise a strategy for enlisting allies that will aid us in overturning this abomination. Dunno exactly what this will look like, but we'll have to figure it out.

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