Administrative Censorship

Monday, November 7, 2011


Journalism censorship is being brought to a whole new level. The Seattle School Board is considering to grant a proposal that would allow principles in the district to read high school news papers before they are printed and would be able to censor what they find disruptive to the schools learning environment.


An article in the Seattle Times says that this is the first time the district has tried to put restrictions on what school newspapers can publish. The Board is using an idea that has been suggested by the Washington State School Directors' Association. This group has been recommending this policy since 2001, but many districts have decided not to use it.

The main point of this proposal is to ensure that schools will not get in trouble for derogatory remarks or libel.

The biggest concern is that principles will take too much control over censorship and students will loose the ability to cover certain stories.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1988 through Hazlewood vs. Kuhlmeier that the constitution does not allow freedom of press to high school students.

Even though the Supreme Court has made this decision should school districts like Seattle be able to allow administrators to censor school newspapers?

Photo from: Creative Commons

2 comments:

tyler.crandell November 8, 2011 at 9:57 AM  

I think they should be allowed to censor the paper since that is what the court case was for. High school students aren't trained and will not know what topics they can and can't cover. There are some things the students could say about someone that could be considered illegal and get that person and the high school in trouble. Hopefully it doesn't lead to the school overly censoring the paper, but some of it needs to be done.

Keith McCarthy November 9, 2011 at 6:39 AM  

The simple answer is yes. If the school sponsors the paper in any way, then it becomes liable for statements made in the paper. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeir clearly established that unless a school newspaper is considered a public forum then it is open to censorship.

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