Friday, October 26

Part 2 - City High School Journalism Raises Principal's Hackles

Iowa City has some pretty amazing young people. Andrew Sullivan, the student editor at City High has a great head on his shoulders and should be commended for the heat he has been willing to take for the First Amendment.

The Gazette reports:

The editor of the City High School student newspaper said Thursday the paper will explore discrimination in its next issue despite the school's principal confiscating copies of the paper last week after a front-page story caused racial unrest.

"I think student publications should set a trend and let people know they'll take on controversial subjects," Adam Sullivan, 17, the executive editor of the Little Hawk, said.Sullivan spoke to about 160 student journalists at the Iowa High School Press Association's state conference at the University of Iowa. The high school senior described what he characterized as the censorship of the student-produced Little Hawk last Friday.

He said the next edition of the monthly paper would include stories about students who have faced discrimination."Not only will it cover the issue, but it will give students who feel they were discriminated against a voice," he said.

The paper printed the results of a survey completed by 350 of City High's 1,500 students on race, religion and sexuality. Among the findings was 13 percent of respondents had unfavorable views toward black students, while 2 percent had unfavorable views toward white students.

City High Principal Mark Hanson said he reluctantly removed the remaining papers from the school's halls at 1:30 p.m. after three near-fights over the story between students of different races.

Iowa law prevents the censorship of an official school newspaper unless it includes material that is obscene, libelous, slanderous, or encourages students to commit unlawful acts, violate lawful school regulations or causes the disruption of the orderly operation of the school.

Hanson said Thursday Little Hawk staffers are to meet today with students who question the story's appropriateness.

He said he hopes the student journalists take what they learn from that meeting and last week and use it to create a balanced report.

Hanson, who said he wants the newspaper to operate as normal, did not dispute that City High has racial issues.

"I think there certainly are at our school, as there would be at any school of our size that's as diverse as us," he said.

That diversity has been growing. City High's minority enrollment is more than 26 percent this school year, up from 14 percent in the 2002-03 school year, Associate Superintendent Jim Behle said. By comparison, Iowa's population is 95 percent white, according to the Census Bureau.

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