Sunday, April 29, 2007

Angry Bardiac

In grading procrastination mode this morning, I saw this article in CNN.

Apparently, in lovely Woodburn, Indiana, a student newspaper published an editorial (written by a student, Megan Chase) calling for "tolerance and acceptance of gays." And Amy Sorrell, the teacher in charge of the paper, is going to be transferred to a different school and won't be allowed to teach journalism. According to this article from the local newspaper (well, it's hard to tell on-line, but I think it's local), she was placed on paid leave because she
she did not comply with an agreement to alert the principal about controversial articles.

What part of accepting and toleration is controversial? She was supposed to let the principal know about upcoming articles that might be controversial, and (according to the article) did let the principal know about upcoming articles on teen pregnancy and such.

You can read the full text of Chase's editorial if you scroll down a bit here, in the Fort Wayne paper.

I'm not sure what's up with the prior notification thing. I don't have a huge problem with the principal getting a heads up about stuff that's going to appear. I think there is a problem if s/he's able to use that lead time to censor the paper. I'm not clear from reading the couple articles that the heads up was about censorship or not. At least one of the articles hints at that, though.

My hat is off to Megan Chase, who was trying to be supportive of a friend who'd come out. Good on you!

Condolences to Amy Sorrell, who is being punished for doing her job and helping students put out a newspaper. I'm glad she's not totally being fired, and angry that she's being moved. That seems like a half-assed work of cowardice on the part of the administration: they want to be publicly seen to "punish" her, but don't want to bring on the legal battle that firing someone without due cause would bring.

I look around sometimes, and people are smiling as if they're friendly. But don't be fooled. Some are, sure. But others, nope. Sometimes, I just hate the midwest.


  1. I suppose advocating equal pay for men and women would also be a controversial subject.... sigh.

  2. I love the part about how school officials have a problem with the "lack of balance" in the opinion piece.


  3. Inside, You're a radical! I know your type! I like your type!

    MWAK, I think balance is important! There should indeed have been an article suggesting that tolerance and acceptance aren't enough, but that we should embrace glbt rights, support gay marriage. I think that adds balance.

    And while we're at it, we should really pay closer attention to civil rights in general, and work against injustice broadly. Yeah, put that in your editorial!!

  4. The school I went to would totally have done exactly the same thing (sigh).

    I was editor of our school magazine, and the principal did indeed have censorship rights which he exercised quite thoroughly. He chopped swear words from various creative writing pieces where they were often (though admittedly not always) appropriate, removed a commemorative piece about three students who had died ("too depressing"), and took out a very balanced piece about a local Maori event (too "controversial").

  5. Styley, Ugh, so all my fantasies about life down under aren't true?