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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