Halls of Shame, Part 6

At Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township, New Jersey, 41 students recently pulled their work from the school’s literary magazine, “Images,” rather than put up with censorship from a principal run amok, according to a story in the Hunterdon Review.
David Steffan, the principal, axed some 60 poems and photographs, according to the story, because they failed to meet his definition of “community standards.”
The mother of the editor told the newspaper that the offenses included such shocking items as a reference to a bottle of chardonnay and a description of a man smoking a cigarette at a train station.
Laramie Silber Boyer, the magazine’s editor, resigned with nearly everyone else on the staff. She said the principal’s orders “were entirely subjective,” according to the paper.
The principal himself couldn’t be reached for comment, which is par for the course for a man whose idea of free expression is to have only his own ideas expressed — but not in public, where the public might weigh in against him.
In any case, Steffan can take pride in securing his own place in our Halls of Shame for putting his own agenda ahead of the hard work of more than 40 students who tried to shed some real light on their community.
Call us crazy, but we’d prefer that 40 students define “community standards” rather than one bossy principal who hasn’t got a clue what the First Amendment is all about.

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