Students find some administrators on their side





In some rare instances, an administrator stands by a student's right to free speech, in keeping with the spirit of the First Amendment.

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A California principal stood by student editor Nichole Sanchez's controversial viewpoint even when some students at East Union High School in Manteca staged a rally protesting an editorial she wrote in February.

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Sanchez blasted television networks for what she perceived as a decline in program quality and specifically spoke out against media portrayals of homosexuals. Homosexuality, she said, should not "be exposed on television like a natural way of living."

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Some students in the school protested by printing posters and fliers bearing gay pride slogans, but principal Roger Hartman made no attempt to pull the article or discipline Sanchez.

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"She has a right to express herself as long as she doesn't defame groups or individuals," Hartman said.

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In Missouri, at Clayton School District near St. Louis, the school board will vote on June 12 on a policy that champions student journalists' rights to free expression.

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At a first reading of the policy in April, the board urged the Clayton administration "to allow its student journalists to function with minimal oversight consistent with the trust and respect that its student journalists have earned."

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The policy puts into writing a long-time practice at Clayton, Superintendent Don Senti said.


reports, Spring 2002