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Censorship strikes Playwickian again


by Jane Blystone
PA School Press Association president

sprclogoToday was one of many days I have talked to students from Neshaminy High School in eastern Pa. over the past three years regarding censorship of their school newspaper, the Playwickian. Once again censorship is lifting its ugly head under different student editors and has now escalated to compelling students to write content the principal wants published, not stories students have agreed to write and publish.

The issue:

One student editor wanted to publish a story in this month’s issue about a pageant for guys in said school called Mr. R—— (the pejorative name for Native Americans) that took place in in March. The majority of the editorial board did not agree to using the pejorative term. As per a 2014 agreement after a national blowout about the pejorative term, students editors have the right to redact the term or not run the story. The student editor, who reported on the story was not satisfied that that word would be redacted, so took the issue up with the principal. The principal demanded it be run unredacted. The editors chose to post the story with the term redacted.

A result:

The adviser resigned effective at the end of this year because she refuses to force student journalists to print the word in their publication as the principal has directed (compelling content)  and the website has been locked down today by the principal (censorship) as you can see here:

How can you and your student journalists help? Simply write letters to these media outlets in their area supporting student rights to choose content and right to edit as per their printed policy.

Here is the principal’s email as well.

Also post thoughts and support on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #freetheplaywickian. Their Twitter acct. and Facebook acct. are not under auspice of the school but private accounts students own.  If you go to these sites, you can also see what the students have posted about the incident. You can also post, share  and retweet at these social media sites to support them.

Yes, they have contacted JEA SPRC, the SPLC and others. They are doing all the RIGHT things for support. Now I am asking you to help. These students are still fighting this many years-long battle to choose what they will and will not publish without interference from administration, as per our state code regarding Student Free Expression.


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