Sprayberry Principal Must OK Paper Content

After the controversy that resulted from an April Fool's edition of "The Stinger," the Cobb County School District has taken action against further incidents.

In a move stemming from the publication of an April Fool's edition of a student-run newspaper that called President Barack Obama "a Nazi," the has ordered that all journalistic content must be approved by the school's principal.

's newspaper "The Stinger" became a lightning rod for controversy in April, when it .

Some of the reasons were, "because his dog is ugly," "he's a Nazi," and, "he's black."

The Marietta Daily Journal quoted a letter school superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa wrote to the Cobb County NAACP outlining his decision.

“We don’t want to censor (the journalism students) but we want to make sure the principal has ownership and has understanding of what’s going out and for there not to be any surprises,” Hinojosa wrote. “It’s a fine line and we did consult with our legal counsel about how to do it … because of how politically volatile, how it really upset the campus, we want to make sure that the principal is aware of that (content).”

Does the subordination of the student-run newspaper to the school principal amount to censorship? Tell us in the comments.


Lynn Louise Wonders, LPC, RPT-S August 07, 2012 at 09:43 PM
There is a balance that must be found in allowing students an opportunity to write thoughtful opinion without being censored and at the same time guiding and instructing students on when thoughtful opinion might cross over into purposeful inflammatory (and potentially defamatory) writing. There are always going to be issues that are hot topics with room for debate and differing opinions but there are journalistic standards that should be taught to the students. The editor of a newspaper typically approves all content before it is published. If the Principal is the Editor in Chief he/she will serve that purpose. It is important, however, for the Principal to also understand where that line is and not censor students from expressing opinions simply because of fears around political correctness.
lisa56 August 07, 2012 at 09:56 PM
An article such as the April Fool's Day "spoof" should never have been approved by the newspaper sponsor. Because the article appeared with or without the sponsor's approval I have no problem with future submissions being reviewed by the principal. Had the article never been printed than I would say that the principal is overstepping his/her bounds because the newspaper sponsor should have final editorial control. Unfortunately, one bad decision has caused the newspaper at Sprayberry to be considered to be lacking substance and in need of more supervision.
Carol August 08, 2012 at 03:49 PM
These high school students proved that teenages are not wise enough to know social graces in relation to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in writing any article about the President of our country. I don't personally approve of Mr. Obama as a president but I do respect the office that he holds. If it was indeed a "prank" article then why didn't they use "prankesh" examples such as "his feet are too small". That wouldn't have been detrimental to him as a person or a president.
M. Stone August 08, 2012 at 04:20 PM
"Does the subordination of the student-run newspaper to the school principal amount to censorship?" No, it amounts to education. The students remain free to publish whatever they want outside of the school setting. What they publish in the school setting reflects on the school and the school district. They should be subject to adult oversight--it is part of their education in producing the newspaper. The adults should also be editing their spelling, punctuation, and fact-checking, too--as part of the students' education.


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