Some lesson in free speech and responsibility
This school year’s final edition of a high school student newspaper was killed and the school’s journalism class was eliminated after the principal said the paper highlighted negative stories and a lack of thorough reporting. Randolph Bynum, principal of Pebblebrook High School in Cobb County, cut the class citing a teacher shortage and the need to keep more popular courses like cosmetology. But he also criticized the paper for negative stories at the expense of articles more favorable to the school’s image, and for a lack of thoroughness in its reporting of stories on teen pregnancy and vandalism in the school parking lot.
Go to these PDF links and you will see that this is an impressive newspaper that, indeed, covers hard issues like teen pregnancy and gambling and even anti-evolution textbook stickers.
The principal, like any bureaucrat, is apparently allergic to transparency — which is all the more reason why the student body and the community are well-served by this very good newspaper.
There could be no better lesson in the need for journalism.
But there’s some hope: The school got a new principal last week. Here is her email address: Regina.Montgomery@cobbk12.org.
Journalists and bloggers alike should come to the aid of these good students and their teacher — and free speech — and send email to Ms. Montgomery. I have.