Television policy finally adopted at Blair High School


After a superintendent censored a student produced talk show, administrators and students searched for an agreeable solution





\nMARYLAND - After more than three years of discussing and\ndebating, Blair High School finally has accepted a broadcasting\nguideline and regulation proposal for their student television\nstation.

Although Bob Becker, a media attorney representing the Washington\nProfessional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,\nsays he is not sure the new regulations, which appear to be only\nminor alterations to an earlier rejected draft, will steer clear\nof future controversies. But the students and administrators\nare satisfied that a guideline finally exists.

The need for guidelines developed after the student produced talk\nshow series, Shades of Grey, shot an episode about same\nsex marriages in 1996, and the superintendent refused to air it.\nThe students responded by filing a complaint.

A proposal for broadcast programming was introduced during a September\nschool board meeting, but was not passed because of disagreements\nover how much control the administration should have over the\nshow and what type of content would be deemed appropriate.

The plan that did pass, however, consists of minor revisions from\nthe first plan. The provision that stated "Programs/tapes\nwill be unacceptable for cablecasting ... [if] the program contains\nlanguage that is disrespectful, verbally abusive, or insensitive\nto others" was deleted "to promote consistency in the\napplication of the guidelines," wrote Superintendent Paul\nVance to the Board of Education.

However, the policy still prohibits students to air programs that\n"as a whole or in significant part, condone harassment, physical\nviolence or illegal discrimination toward any person."


reports, Spring 1999