School officials in Ga. 'standing by' decision to run controversial column

Article compared homosexuality to Down syndrome

GEORGIA -- District officials are standing by a Marietta high school principal's decision not to censor an opinion piece calling homosexuality one of biology's "reproductive errors," despite high profile media attention describing the "furor" caused by the article.

A column by Carlton J. Kell High School senior Thomas Benjamin appeared in this year's first edition of the school's student newspaper, The Inkwell, arguing that homosexuality is a medical disorder "as much as Down's syndrome."

After copies of the paper were distributed on Friday, some students said they were "upset" the column was allowed to run, according to articles in both The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Marietta Daily Journal.

Principal Trudie Donovan reviewed the article before publication and determined it did not violate the student publication policy.

"I'm standing by my decision," Donovan said. She referred other questions to district representatives.

Cobb County School District spokesman Doug Goodwin said the usual steps were taken before the article was printed, including the principal's review.

"Whether the content is popular or not, it's not up to us to decide what runs as long as it's not disruptive," Goodwin, said.

Goodwin said the district would not consider any changes to its policy in light of the recent article.

The district policy regarding student publications states that the guidelines for the newspaper are not "intended to allow censoring of any article merely because it is controversial."

Goodwin said students would have a chance to write a counterpoint article in future issues if they choose to.

"This was just one student's opinion," he said. "Other students will have plenty of opportunities to write theirs."

Carlton J. Kell High School, Georgia, marietta, news