The Seattle Times' Opinion on "Public Forum" Student Papers


"But we say again it is a risky thing to give legal control of a high-school newspaper to students."

Seattle Times Editorial

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have You Seen What's in the DHS Newspaper?

If not, you should check it out. Here are links and pictures so you can see what is being published and distributed in The Squall/Rostrum. The Squall is the paper and the The Rostrum is an insert.

If you only have time to read one article, make it the Club Crome feature article from the Feb. 2010 Squall.

Dexter School Board member email addresses are linked at the top. Feel free to send emails to the school board and let them know how you feel about the paper and its content.

We thought if parents and others in the Dexter school district knew what was being distributed, they might have opinions on it.

Important: some of the images and stories are offensive. We are in no way promoting them. But if you don't see them, you won't know what the adolescents at Dexter High School are being exposed to each month.

If you have young children in the Dexter School System and are assuming that the paper will be better supervised by the time they get to high school, you should know that the basic philosophy and content limits have been the same for several years. There's no reason to expect anything to change unless parents speak up.

Here are some examples of previous covers with links. Photo links can be found on the right column.

The Drugs Drinking Dexter (the bylaws prohibit T-shirts with alcohol products on them, but the paper is publishing photos of hard liquor bottles on its cover).
For the online version of Drugs Drinking Dexter issue, click here.
The actual article is not promoting alcohol, but you have to read the story to find that out.

The Love Issue
For online version of The Love Issue, click here.
A fully naked John Lennon can be seen on the spread.

And here is a snippet from the most recent Squall. To see the entire page (recommended), please click here and go to the Feb 2010 Squall, page 4.

Article Title: Club Crome by Erin M.

Being accustomed to the heavily supervised and rule laden school dances, there is a definite difference in atmosphere walking into Club Crome in Whitmore Lake. The Small dance floor is packed with sweaty, thrusting, barely-covered teens while the hip-hop music blares . . . . 


But the photo is worse.

The "dance" move of the girl bracing her hands on her knees (or the wall) to give her "dance partner" better leverage from behind was photographed and showcased in the Feb 2010 article on page 4. The act has been banned from the school dances (after over two years of controversy), and yet somehow is still being allowed in full view in the most recent Squall. [Update: the photo has been removed from the online edition.]

And if you look closely, the group dance photo used in the article is much like an obscene Where's Waldo. Girls are braced against the wall while men approach them from behind in various corners of the photo. Why is this article printed in the DHS paper at all? No mention is made of having to wait hours outside in all kinds of weather to get in or stolen cell phones or "creepy old guys"(a quote from an online reviewer) or drug paraphernalia on the ground seen by students who go there. It is not a balanced article.

If you are going to tell kids about this great club, then responsible reporting requires mention also of the negatives.

I think this is the most extreme example of inappropriate content in The Squall. In an interview with the SPLC, the Squall editor said, "The picture was just teenagers dancing." 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking beyond the newspaper, I was disturbed by the "Casino/Gambling" theme of the 2009 homecoming floats. I do not think this was an appropriate theme for high school students, as gambling is illegal for minors, let alone for my 3rd grader who watched the parade with her class. Certainly Matt is correct in that we all have other things we need to do, but this is too important to just sit back and do nothing about!

Anonymous said...

Bullying is a very serious crime, and should be treated as such; not tolerated or endured. I found the following article very informative.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/679139/parents_of_billy_wolfe_file_lawsuit.html

A favorite part is the following quote: "Teenagers don't yet have the self esteem developed to fight back. They are more inclined to believe their peers and feel worthless if their peers say so. Developing a self-esteem rooted in knowing who you are doesn't even come into play until adults are sometimes in their late twenties or thirties. It's unreasonable to expect a child to have that level of maturity.

It is NEVER okay for a child to be bullied. Bullying is not what makes children tough. In this situation, a better lesson can be learned from watching parents that stand up and fend for their children. Not taking a stand is telling the child that they are not worth taking action over. It's telling the bully they can treat others that way and get away with it and letting the parents of bullies off the hook. "
Billy Wolfe's parents have sued the bully and the school. I don't offer this advice to Ashley, hoping she sues the school or bully. But, I hope and pray she is able to turn to an adult who will help her fight back. These people need to be stopped, and she needs to know that she is infinitely valuable, a treasure that deserves protection from people who behave badly. And the bullies? They need intervention to help them learn to become decent members of society.

DHS Parent