Adviser removed in anti-Hazelwood state


Teacher fed up with administration after principal said cartoon was racist





\nCOLORADO - Leigh Campbell-Hale says she does not plan to\nfight her removal as adviser to the high school student newspaper,\neven though her school is in one of the six states that has passed\nlegislation to counteract the 1988 Supreme Court decision of Hazelwood\nSchool District v. Kuhlmeier.

"I don't think I'd get my job back if I did put up a fight,"\nshe said. According to Campbell-Hale, Fairview High School does\nnot consider what they did as firing, but a job reassignment,\nsince Campbell-Hale did not lose her job as a history teacher.

\nNot only will she lose her advising position effective next school\nyear, but another teacher will co-teach the journalism classes\nfor the remainder of the school year.

Fairview High School entered the spotlight in March when the student\nnewspaper ran a cartoon, drawn by Campbell-Hale's son, which minority\nleaders complained was racist. The gist of the cartoon described\nthe school's janitorial and security staff as "Mexican bush\nmonkeys."

Campbell-Hale says that even though the high school is predominately\nwhite and multi-cultural awareness is low, she defends the cartoon.

"It was stupid. It was insensitive. But it's intent was\nnot racist," she said. "This whole thing has been blown\nout of proportion."

Barbara Plungy, executive director of the Colorado High School\nPress Association, understands why people may find the cartoon\nracist, but still believes Campbell-Hale should remain as adviser.

"Everyone today should be aware that you don't make these\ncomments, but it's not worthy of [the adviser] being dismissed,"\nshe said. "You work with her, and you work with [the cartoonist].\nYou try the education route and say, 'Let's learn from this.'"

However, Campbell-Hale said the cartoon was just a front to get\nrid of her, because the principal had already hired a new journalism\nteacher before the cartoon even ran.

"He's been unhappy with the paper, and he's been unhappy\nwith me," she said.

She is quick to point out that when she began advising the newspaper\nthree years ago, it was $14,000 in debt. She decreased that amount\nby $10,000, she says.

"I've done a good job, and now I've let down the kids."


reports, Spring 1999