May 3 Is World Press Freedom Day
“[T]he United States will lack the full moral authority to advocate for world press freedom so long as our laws fail to effectively protect the majority of the Americans who gather and report news each day: Those working for student media.’”
—Open Letter to President Barack Obama, 2011
In Aurora, Colo., Overland High School Principal Leon Lundie is just the latest to try to silence his own students.
“The problem here is bigger than Leon Lundie. The problem is us—all of us, and how we’ve come to shrug and accept the word of high school administrators so uncritically that they think they can get away with anything, and for the most part, they’re right.
“The only accountability for most administrators is what’s written in the press—and the only press covering those administrators on a daily basis is the student press.
“The values conveyed by journalism—attribution, verification, fairness, accountability—are the values that every young person needs as a citizen of the online world. Because the professional news media cannot be everywhere, our society needs candid reports from "embedded" student journalists to tell us what is going on inside of our schools.
“Yet far from embracing the educational benefits of journalism, school after school has done just the opposite.
“Legislators shift more and more authority into the hands of administrators, even proposing they should police what your children do at home. They reduce accountability to nil under a theory of ‘student privacy’ so you can never find out what happens. If there is any hope for accountability, fairness, or truth in public schools, it has to come from the protection of student journalists’ civil rights. And that protection has to come from us.”
—Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate, the Student Press Law Center, “Did Colo. Principal Who Censored Student Newspaper Plagiarize?” Huffington Post, April 21, 2011
(Thanks to alert WORDster Mark Goodman)
Editorial Comment: What are they teaching kids these days?
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