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National scholastic journalism groups’ position on Neshaminy policy proposal


As the national organizations of journalism educators committed to the training of future journalists and the preparation of citizens for life in our democracy, we write to express our vigorous opposition to the proposed policy changes under consideration by the Neshaminy Board of School Directors that relate to school-sponsored student publications

We find the proposed policy changes, which give school officials virtually unlimited authority to censor student journalism even of the highest quality, educationally unsound, constitutionally insufficient and morally indefensible.  They are inconsistent with the student media policies recommended by national education experts.

We are especially offended at the pretense the policy gives of allowing students to “determine the content” of the Playwickian student newspaper while at the same time explicitly giving school officials the authority to censor any material that they “reasonably believe should be prohibited.”

Based on our expertise in the field of scholastic journalism and media education, we assure the Board that these policy changes will do nothing to ensure the quality of student work or maintain the orderly operation of the school.  In fact, we find the proposed policy changes to be in direct conflict with the district’s stated commitment to the U.S. Constitution and sound educational policy.

We offer the board our expertise in drafting a policy that reflects widely accepted practices for teaching responsible journalism and that will lead to a healthy environment at the school where diverse voices are heard.

Center for Scholastic Journalism
Kent State University
Kent, Ohio
Mark Goodman, Knight Chair in Scholastic Journalism (330) 672-6239
Candace Perkins Bowen, Director, (330) 672-8297

Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association
New York, New York
Melissa Wantz, President, (805) 218-9763

Journalism Education Association
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas
Mark Newton, President, (785) 532-7822
Kelly Furnas, Executive Director, (785) 532-7822
John Bowen, Scholastic Press Rights Chair, (330) 672-3666

National Scholastic Press Association
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Diana Mitsu Klos, Executive Director,  (612) 625-7359

Quill and Scroll International Honor Society
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa
Vanessa Shelton, Executive Director  (319) 335-3321

•  The proposed Neshaminy policy
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 Neshaminy articles

One Comment

  1. A policy that insists students include something they consider racist is certainly not consistent with any sound educational goals. This district should avail itself of the opportunity to be themselves educated in the unique learning opportunities offered to students working on publications governed by policies these organizations
    could offer.

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