• These High School Students Are PISSED Their New Principal Wants To Edit Their Newspaper

    Students who run the Beacon newspaper at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. learned they would be getting a new editor at the beginning of this school year — their principal — and they are not happy.

    Kimberly Martin, who came on as principal of the school at the beginning of the academic year informed the Beacon’s staff she will review the paper prior to its release each month, which the students took exception to.

    “Not only does prior review take away our freedom to criticize, it creates an atmosphere of censorship that will make students more reluctant to tell their stories,” the paper’s staff wrote in an editorial. “We love how so many students get excited when they’re quoted or see their own names in a byline. We don’t want that to change because people are afraid to express their authentic opinions.”

    By law, the high school’s administrators are permitted to review any student publications before they are printed, but since the Beacon started publishing in 1935, the paper has never been reviewed by anyone but the students on staff according to the current editors.

    When the students asked why Martin thought it appropriate to have final say on their newspaper for the first time ever, her response was simply because that’s how she has operated before, the editorial said.

    Martin, in a statement to The Washington Post, said she just wanted to keep the students safe, and she thinks this is the best way to do so.

    “It is my intention to make all decisions based on student learning and the decision of prior review is in line with my personal and professional philosophy as an educator,” she said. “Keeping students safe and protected are parts of my job that I take very seriously.”

    The students disagreed, though, saying that making mistakes is part of the journalistic process and it is more important for them to make mistakes and correct them than to be protected from themselves.

    “We don’t claim to be perfect, but when we make mistakes, we take responsibility and correct the information. Prior review takes away a crucial step in the journalism process: the step where we learn how to deal with mess-ups and complaints,” they wrote.

    The students launched a Change.org petition, which at the time of print has already garnered more than 600 signatures from supporters.

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