Don Myers, a Republican representative in the Kansas Legislature, introduced a new bill this past week that would require all school districts to set up a committee to review stories and photos before they were published in a high school student newspaper.
It’s unfortunate the Supreme Court has already ruled this kind of censorship at the high school level is acceptable, but Rep. Myers is looking to take it a step further.
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal on Feb. 3, the bill is being introduced because of a recent incident at Topeka West High School, where a story ran about underage drinking, and included photos of a high school party. Even though faces were blurred out in the photos, parents were still in uproar about the article. It sounds like these parents should be more mad at their children, instead of the editor at the paper.
If these committees are set up, it first tells students they are not to be trusted, and can’t make good judgements for themselves. Really, what does that do to bolster a student’s confidence when they go out into the real world? Second, it’s a waste to pay a teacher’s salary, and then set up a committee to make sure that teacher makes the right decision.
Talk about bureaucracy.
Publishing a story about underage drinking was socially responsible for the Topeka West newspaper to do. Publishing photos that went along with it, made the story more relatable to students, and not just your generic “high school students drink too much” article on CNN.
Students need to learn the importance of journalism and making tough decisions on their own. When they start working for their college newspaper, they will be making these kinds of decisions every day, with no one holding their hand.