Bestiality story sparks investigation of teacher
WASHINGTON — A high school newspaper’s story about farm boys having sex with animals has stirred an uproar in the small farming community of Stanwood and has placed the adviser of the paper’s job in jeopardy.
The Spartan Spectrum’s adviser, Val Schroeder who, the school says approved the story by staff writer Liz Davis, is facing disciplinary action by school officials who want her teaching credentials withdrawn by the state.
“An article like this has no place in a high school newspaper, especially in a farming community,” said Raymond Reid, the school district superintendent. “There are plenty of other things to write about. Many of our students live on farms. It was irresponsible to let that be printed.“Officials objected to the topic, not any specific information in the story.
Davis’ story in the Stanwood High School’s paper, headlined “How many of you out there live on a farm?” cited studies that a fifth of farm boys engaged in bestiality. The story stated that such acts were against the law and quoted the schools counselor’s opinion about the issue.
Reid said that Davis would not be punished but that Schroeder would be disciplined by the school board.
Schroeder still holds her position as adviser and teacher at Stanwood High School but is currently undergoing an investigation by the school board.
Fern Valentine, a member of Washington Journalism Education Association, wrote a letter to the state superintendent stating that Schroeder was not “professionally unfit or immoral because of what her students wrote.”
“One of the best things a student journalist can learn is critical thinking skills,” Valentine said. “If the adviser makes all of the decisions you are sacrificing an important part of learning.”
Valentine said Schroeder told the students the consequences they might face by running the bestiality story but the students still wanted to print it. She said Schroeder wanted the students to make their own decisions.
“Hopefully the state superintendent will read the case and throw it out,” Valentine said.
reports, Spring 1996