We commend Faribault high school newspaper staff

by Lisa Zehner

Despite cases that have disagreed, prior review or another form of censorship doesn’t belong in the press.

Whether it is a publisher reviewing articles of news staff before publication or the principal of a high school newspaper, say the Faribault High School newspaper, the Echo, prior review and censorship does create a "chilling effect" on the press ability to serve its functions.

However, the Faribault Daily News reports that the Faribault School District Superintendent Bob Stepaniak shut down the school’s paper after the students refused to let him see an article prior to publication. The article is about an investigation of a middle school teacher who was on paid leave after a complaint about her alleged inappropriate communition with a student (whatever that might be).

The student editors, whom we support as  protectors of the First Amendment, high school or not, will be taking their case to the school board Thursday. Stepaniak has refused publication of the Echo until the student editors allow prior review.

The school board should side with the students who are fighting for freedom of the Echo’s ability to serve the readers of the school’s community. The very purpose of the press is to serve as watchdogs of officials on all levels, including high school and middle school teachers. 

Hazelwood is quite clear on the issue of giving superintendents the right to prior review. However, many other cases have sided with students. What do you think? Should superintendents or principals be allowed to review articles before they go into print?