Official halts distribution of 'disruptive publication'

FLORIDA -- A high school principal canceled the distribution of the student newspaper in February because of a column criticizing school administrators and teachers that he called "disruptive to the school."

Palm Coast High School principal Larry Hungsinger ordered students to stop distributing the remaining 200 copies of the Feb. 9 issue of Paw Prints because of a column that criticized teachers and administrators in the school district who had recently been arrested for different offenses.

The article did not mention any teachers' names, but referred to information used by local newspapers to cover the incidents, according to Jamie Rose, advertising editor of Paw Prints.

Before being published, assistant principal Neil McCoppin approved the paper. Hungsinger, however, stopped distribution of the publication after receiving complaints from several teachers.

According to Hungsinger, the article stereotyped faculty members and upset teachers.

Following the incident, Hungsinger met with the newspaper staff and explained his position. According to Rose, the explanation did not satisfy the newspaper staff.

The students sent e-mails to local newspapers with the hopes that they will be interested in covering the story. They have also started a parent-student support group to assist them in their fight against what they believe is a clear case of censorship.

reports, Spring 2001