Bedecked in their green Team McCandless shirts, a group of 50 or students, parents and family members gathered at the monthly meeting of the Wentzville Board of Education, hoping to have their voices heard over the censorship of the newspaper and yearbook at Timberland High School.
Those green shirts failed to bring any luck to Team McCandless supporters, as four supporters of Principal Winston Rogers were allowed to speak before the public comments portion of the evening was brought to a close. As the disgruntled group filed out, several remarks were shouted back toward the boardroom and the group gathered outside the boardroom. Eventually, the group was allowed one person to speak.
The assembled group chose Nikki McGee, the editor-in-chief of the Wolf’s Howl. McGee spoke eloquently of her experiences in Cathy McCandless’ room and of the effects McCandless’ teaching has had on her over the course of four years. After that, the group headed back out and began to disperse.
Members of the St. Louis media were there, with KSDK and KMOV both sending reporters. A reporter from the Post-Dispatch was there as well. None of those media had posted anything online as of this writing.
The general atmosphere of those assembled was one of anger and disgruntlement. Those assembled were hopeful that they were going to be given a chance to speak and when it became apparent they were not, that anger rose. Several parents spoke of the censorship at THS being extended to the board meeting. Several vowed to be back for next month’s board meeting as well.
What I took away from this is a couple of things. First, that it’s good these students have stood up for themselves. Would that there were more students around the country like this, we’d hopefully have a lot less of a problem with censorship. Two, that it’s going to take a lot to overcome administrators in situations like this. It’s not enough to be in the right side of the argument. When we’re fighting against this, it takes time and hard work and persistence and passion and dedication.
I’ll be posting some photos one of my students took at the board meeting this evening to my Facebook account sometime tomorrow and provide some final thoughts.read more