Halls of Shame adds two from New Jersey

It’s been awhile since we’ve inducted anyone into our Halls of Shame for tossing the First Amendment out the schoolhouse window.
But it’s time to turn up the heat again.
Publication of The Pioneer student newspaper at New Jersey’s Clearview Regional High School has been held up this week because school administrators don’t like an editorial cartoon that takes aim at anti-sex education activists, according to a story in the Gloucester County Times.
The cartoon shows a Teen Prevention Education Program volunteer “being burned at the stake by two Pure Pioneers, designated as such by their pioneer-style caps. The Pure Pioneers is a group of parents that has been vocally opposed” to the teen program that has older students educating younger ones, with teacher supervision, the paper reported this week.
“Once the administration caught wind of what we were doing, they brought in an attorney and now the issue is in prior review,” senior Jordan Rubin told the paper. “This is the first time in The Pioneer’s history that we’ve been in prior review and considered for censorship.”
It’s unclear why school leaders got so freaked out about the cartoon since the district’s attorney wouldn’t talk, citing “attorney-client privilege,” the paper said. That the attorney obviously doesn’t comprehend that he works for the taxpayers, not some backward school superintendent doesn’t seem to matter. And the censors themselves? They had nothing to say.
There’s nothing quite like censors who are so contemptuous of freedom that they don’t even see a need to explain their thinking, such as it is.
So let’s honor Principal Kevin Kitchenman and Superintendent John Horchak with a spot in our Halls of Shame. They apparently would rather dishonor the Bill of Rights than tell some mouthy parents to back down and get out.
Instead of showing students what it means to live in a free country, they’re busy teaching their community that censorship is fine, that students have no right to an opinion and that the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply in Harrison Township, New Jersey.
We hope that the student paper will go to print quickly when officials realize how badly they’ve screwed up.
And we trust that the student journalists who are trying to do what newspapers should will realize that they’re entirely in the right in this dispute. Don’t back down, kids.

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Copyright 2008 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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  • I agree with you that it should be shame on Mr. Kitchenman and Mr. Horchak. They have both demonstrated incompetence throughout this whole ordeal with Teen Pep.

    Clearly you have not looked at this whole issue though, while both are completely incompetent superintendent and principal, the parents are not a few loud parents. In fact, the majority of parents disagree with the program.

    And the grounds that the cartoon was delayed are fine because according to New Jersey state law sex education programs parents have the right to opt out of.

    So this is not a sex ed program you say, but in fact the teacher Mr. Porter tells his students to spread how great the program is to students 24/7/365 so this is a positive view of the Teen Pep program as instructed to do by the teacher which infringes on the parents right to opt them out, how can you opt a student out when students are blindly pushing this program? Cease and re-evaluate the program now.

  • This cartoon will be published. It was only suspended for a legal review. This district had a case of student newspaper censorship that went all the way to the U.S.Supreme Court in the 1980’s.

    Mr. Kitchenman and Mr.Horchak are two of the hardest working administrators in the area. They have had to spend more time to deal with this issue at the expense of many other educational matters.

    The parents opposing this program are not a majority and are the same people that tried to have books such as Harry Potter removed from the Harrison Township Elementary School Library.

    These parents that oppose the program have the right to have their students not be involved,
    but they DO NOT have the right to
    deprive other students of an educational experience their parents belive is valuable.

    As a life long resident, parent, and an Alumni I object to the way the students of Teen Pep have been portrayed and demonized by the group calling itself Pure Pioneers. These students are some of the brightest,most caring and mature students in the school.

    The people opposing the program think that by ending Teen Pep some how high school students will not ever talk about sex are kidding themselves. By opposing this program in such a vocal way the opposite has happened,it has become a major topic of discussion every day.

    To side with the Pure Pioneers is to side with a group that that seeks to take away freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

  • Perhaps you people haven't noticed but you live in the Communist State Of New Jersey. You have NO rights here in NJ. Just ask any cop. You only have the rights they decide.
    They will tell you flat out. You have NO rights, just ask the politicans. You only have the rights that they tell you, you have. You want rights? GET OUT OF NEW JERSEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!