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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This blog is to share information, not argue.

Like the Student Press Law Center, we are an advocacy group. Just like them, we advocate one side.

We have read every single comment. Even the threats and profanity. That's just not the point of the blog. If you want a public forum for this topic, don't complain or bully us--just make one. Blogspot is free to anyone with a google account. And you can get a free stat counter at statcounter.com. It's fun to see where people are viewing from and you can even check out if the comments come from iphones or school computers or Hawaii. It's pretty cool. Statcounter is in real time--some of the other counters update only intermittently.

The Committee for a Better Dexter

5 comments:

Working Toward a Better Dexter said...

To the creator of the "Clean up DHS" blog-
I completely understand and respect that you have the right to your own opinion, but for you to call out The Squall when your child does not even attend DHS is quite outrageous. The Squall has been a nationally recognized student publication for several years, and it prints stories that appeal to teenagers. Writing for The Squall is a tremendous learning experience and forces kids to be creative along with learning the fundamentals of journalism. Although some of the stories may contain content that some people do not agree with, this is a reality with all newspapers. Not everyone is going to agree with what is written; that is the beauty of journalism and writing. Some stories in The Squall involve actions and decisions made by students that certain people do not want to know about, but the fact is that these incidents are a reality. One of your main targets is the article about Club Crome. Yes, this is a controversial issue considering students have boycotted school dances and have chosen to go to Club Crome, but The Squall is simply reporting and informing the student body about what is happening. You also may not find the way that teens dance to be appropriate, but this is the teenager culture. There is no way to hide this. Kids cannot be sheltered forever; they will be in for a big surprise when they go to college and high school if they are sheltered throughout their childhood. The Squall is in no way corrupting the students of DHS, and therefore is doing no harm. I personally look forward to the last Friday in each month when The Squall is released. I can speak for the majority of students as well. Teachers have to tell students multiple times to put their newspapers away during class on these days because everyone enjoys reading The Squall so much. It can be funny and entertaining, along with informative and serious. There is absolutely no way that The Squall should be discarded or censor by the principal. If you are a believer in these ideals, Chelsea High School has a newspaper that is strongly censored by their principal and advisor. I would suggest you move there so your child does not grow up with crazy and corrupt DHS students. Before you know it, all hell is going to break loose inside DHS because of the terrible things The Squall publishes.

Sincerely,

Kurt Miller- DHS student

Working Toward a Better Dexter said...

Thanks for your comment, Kurt.

I actually own a home in both Dexter and Chelsea. When my husband and I moved here, the high school had a great reputation. Recently I've heard it called a drug house. Chelsea is sounding better to me and we will probably relocate there before our kids are high school age.

The Squall has excellent articles. Here and there, it crosses the line.

"Robby" said...

@ Working Toward a Better Dexter,

I understand the worry that DHS is a drug house, but it is not. No more than Chelsea would be, no more than Pioneer or Saline or really any other high school. I'm a senior at the school, I've never once seen someone use drugs nor been offered drugs within the school during all 4 years I have attended. Just like in life, choosing the people you hang out with will totally affect your experience, and if you push your children in the right direction, you'll never once have to worry that they are a drug abuser.

If you still deny this, well, a private school would be safest. All I'm saying, Dexter High School is a very clean place to learn and grow as it has been. Mr. Moran has really helped the school along, he started in my freshman year and I can safely say my experience has constantly improved exponentially.

Respectfully,
"Robby" - DHS senior

Anonymous said...

Kurt,
When you say "Although some of the stories may contain content that some people do not agree with, this is a reality with all newspapers" I wonder how you measure reality. You need to understand there is a big difference between the op-ed page, documentary, a fact-based article, and graphical content. The DCS policies clearly define what content is appropriate and The Squall has crossed that line in a _few_ instances. Overall, I think everyone agrees it is a high-quality publication. The true "reality with all newspapers" is that they follow the policies established for that publication.

In case you are wondering, the policy states (among other things):
"Such unprotected materials are those which... advocate the use or advertise the availability of any substance or material which may reasonably be believed to... urge the violation of law or school regulations."

http://www.neola.com/dexter-mi/search/policies/po5722.htm

Furthermore, "the Board has established a zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use" which establishes the ban on clothing that displays such products. The same logic easily applies to publications.

http://www.neola.com/dexter-mi/search/policies/po5771.htm

I would agree that DHS is a great school. That does not mean there is no room for improvement.

Jason - DCS parent

Anonymous said...

In every case, we do have our own opinion. No one in the world people aren't going to be 100% for or against something. Journalism is a very strong and powerful weapon (the pen is mightier than the sword). If parents are worried about younger kids, then don't let them read it. If you think they will read the Sqaull on the bus, then drive them to school. You cannot shelter your kids forever, because there are always problems like this that have to be dealt with. I respect your opinion as a parent, because I can see where you are comming from. The Squall is really made for high schoolers in general. Some pieces are put into the Dexter Leader. I am aware that there are drugs and alcohol usage at DHS but isn't it like that everywhere else? It is an inevitable situation. I will agree with Robby that I have not been offered drugs, seen other kids offered drugs, heard that kids have been offered drugs or have seen people using drugs. Everything in life is a choice. Sure people make the most stupid choices, but they don't speak for everyone. Dexter is one of the best schools I think with a the best staff, best principal and the best board of education. Now back to the Squall. Since "mostly" teenagers are reading this newspaper, the articles being written are what interest us. They are letting us know what is going on in our community and also connections in the world at the same time. I would rather be aware then to be sheltered by what is going on in the world. The creativity and written word of these students are what has given the Squall its prestige reputation for awards and acknowledgements. Sure they are edgy, but we aren't scared to express our freedom of speech. We tell what we think and what we think is the truth. We aren't doing this to corrupt kids or to promote drugs, smoking, alcohol, sex or anything like that. We are stating what is happening in the world. This will be a war that will continue on forever. Students definitely see things differently than adults and I know it is hard to understand why this is the way it is. Mr. Satterthwaite is the best newspaper advisor I know. He is doing nothing wrong. He is helping US the students to allow us to use our voice to be put out in the world. How would censoring the paper be helping anything? People would still swear and voice their opinion in the world anyway if it isn't through the newspaper. You can't censor our lives.

Kyle Oberle- DHS Senior