U.S. Supreme Court Justices OK Censorship of Student Newspapers

As I have become older, I have become more and more committed to the idea that for this country to remain free, our protection of the human rights and civil liberties of those of us who have no political voice must be the most vigilant.

The chilling ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court stifling the voice of our young people bodes no good for their future understanding of a free press. In their civics class they may learn about the U.S. Constitution only to find in their journalism class that it does not apply to them!

Years ago our eldest daughter got into trouble because of her belief that she was entitled to voice her opinions about a free student press. Locally she was vilified for what was perceived as her "communistic" leaning towards an uncensored student newspaper. Following her our second daughter, understanding the heart of the problem, started an underground newsletter which addressed issues the students were concerned about. She and her staff were stopped and taken before the principal as they tried to distribute this publication. It took the services of a civil rights lawyer to ensure their legal dissemination of this paper went unchallenged.

I believe in persuasive methods always rather than those of force or coercion. But I know that we must listen to our young people in order to understand the choices they make in their lives. I admit to hoping very much that in those student bodies, where censorship of their journals takes place, someone will have the strength to start an alternative newspaper and that there will be also a friendly, aware civil rights attorney to make sure that these students' rights are protected.


Santa Barbara

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