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

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The Puyallup School District won the lawsuit. Thank goodness. After two years of costly litigation, the mess is finally over (barring an appeal).

The case hinged on whether permission was given by the students to have their names and stories published in the JagWire. One of the students whose parents were suing told a friend she was going to lie about giving permission. I expect that had something to do with the outcome.

A limited public forum where students make legal decisions for themselves and the school is a bad idea. It's bad for the school district. Even though the Puyallup school district chose to run the student paper as a public forum and not oversee what was published and said the student journalists were responsible for the content, they were named as defendants in the lawsuit and paid a high price.

I don't think they will go back to a public forum format any time soon.


Dexter Leader: Thanks to everyone for keeping the issue fresh at the Dexter Leader. I love the letters and comments. Smart--to the point--great!    You can read the letters here.


The most offensive photo has been removed from online version of the Feb. 2010 Squall. That's great, but it doesn't go far enough. The paper was distributed to the entire student body and numerous businesses around Dexter. The Club Crome article was published online and left there for nearly two months--all after one of the students in the photo asked that it not be distributed with the photograph included.

Removing the photo implies that publishing it in the first place was a mistake--but it's too late.  The picture has been seen by a lot of people. A prior review might have stopped the photo from being published in the first place.

There are still plenty of teenagers grinding and several of them are clearly recognizable in the remaining photos.

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