by Kathy Schrier
The opportunity to fill in as interim newspaper adviser at one of Seattle’s largest high schools was an offer I couldn’t refuse in November 2012. I was to step in for an experienced adviser who was leaving to take a position as an editor with a large media outlet. The job would allow me to spend time with a great staff of motivated student journalists at a well-established paper in this city high school; a school where the paper enjoyed no history of administrative prior review or censorship.
What I didn’t know, as I stepped into my new position, was that the boom was about to be lowered.
Mary Beth Tinker at Kent State University during the Tinker Tour. Today, she returned to her middle school in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mary Beth and John Tinker returned to Des Moines, Iowa, today as part of the national Tinker Tour to celebrate student rights and to show students they can make a difference.
The Tinkers were the plaintiffs in the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court decision that students do not leave their rights at the schoolhouse gate. They returned to Des Moines and their respective schools from which they were suspended welcomed by school officials and spoke to students and community members.
For Storify coverage, go here.
Superintendent of Des Moines Schools, Thomas Ahart, shown with Mary Beth and John Tinker, said students in the system are safe to wear armbands today as he prepares to wear one.
by Tom Gayda
“(Journalism) kids have rights. They have the right to be right. They have the right to make mistakes and the right to learn from those mistakes.”
So are the words of this year’s JEA Administrator of the Year—and my principal—Evans Branigan III.
If only more folks in administrative jobs would get behind this philosophy. Just like any students participating in any other activities, mistakes are made. Some mistakes are small, some not-so-small, but it is important educators provide an experience that is real to their students, and a safety net to catch them should they err.
What can we do to get others to live by my principal’s motto? Educate, educate, educate.
When things are calm, meet with your principal and tell them how you’d like to one day see them with the JEA Administrator of the Year award. Share the quote. Talk about the positive things that can happen when a collaborative relationship is built. Don’t let each other assume the relationship has to be contentious. Change the tone if you can.
Too many young advisers—and administrators—assume one can’t trust the other. Not true! It might be necessary to simply change the culture. Start my acknowledging you both want what is best for the kids. Then explain what your goals are. Ask your administrator what he or she expects. If these don’t match up, find the common ground you can build from.
There have been several JEA Administrators of the Year. Each state is honored to have individuals who work hard to ensure students are free to practice what we teach. Let’s celebrate all of these people and share their successes so others who might not be as up to speed have a chance to learn from their peers and see that everything is going to be OK.
Administrators also have the right to make mistakes. It’s up to us to help them correct themselves.
PART 3 OF a 3-PART SERIES
An experienced Ohio newspaper adviser teams up with a former student — who now has a law degree — to teach the staff about using public records. An alleged rape on campus requires student editors to stand their ground accessing information about it. Once they have details about the incident, they have to decide just what they should – or maybe should not – use. It’s a tale that has all the makings of excellent reporting.
The discussion and next steps.
Editors of the Shakerite have class at 8 a.m., and they had a lot to discuss Sept. 11. Editor Shane McKeon and campus and city editor John Vodrey had the police report showing that what the principal, in his letter to parents, said was an assault had really been classified by the police as a rape.