Thursday, November 01, 2012

Two Education Stories Out of California

Is this reasonable or not?
A decision by the Roseville Joint Union High School District board this month to give the superintendent the right to approve advertising content in school newspapers and yearbooks has sparked a First Amendment civil rights debate within the district.

And given the legal issues being raised, it could have broad implications for school districts in the region and throughout California.

"The district is opening themselves up to a lot more liability than they are protecting themselves from," said Adam Goldstein, an attorney advocate with Student Press Law Center in Virginia.

He said the new policy could result in lawsuits from students who believe their First Amendment rights have been violated, as well as from advertisers who say their right to religious speech has been quashed...

Karl Grubaugh is adviser for the award-winning Granite Bay (High) Gazette, one of five student newspapers in the school district. He said the change violates the state Education Code's protection of students' freedom of speech and their control over the content in school publications.
California does have very strong student press freedoms, but I question whether this topic is included in those freedoms or not.  There are some very interesting points brought up in that story.

The second story isn't near as weighty (after you read the story you'll get my pun!):
Several Pasadena schools are banning Flamin' Hot Cheetos from their campuses saying they are too high in fat and sodium, reports the Los Angeles Times. Schools won't sell the hugely popular treats and kids won't be able to pack them in their school lunches.
No school has the authority to tell me what I can and can't pack in my son's lunch.


maxutils said...

For Roseville . . . I believe this case stems from having sold ad space at a football game to an ammunition store . . . I guess I understand that type of limitation . . .I mean, they wouldn't advertise liquor or streip clubs . . .but ammunition is definitely borderline. As for the lunches . . .they can attempt to pry the cheetos from my kids' cold dead hands.

Coach Brown said...

Supreme Court has been pretty clear that admin has final say in school papers, regardless of lax California laws.

Cheetos? Seriously? The idea that the school can ban things that a student chooses to bring for lunch is a joke on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

The subject of "Who gets to decide what is acceptable for the school newspaper" seems to come up fairly regularly.

And I don't get it.

The folks who own the press and pay for the ink get to decide.

But *today* we have an internet and lots of newspapers are on-line. It would cost $5/month for an on-line student newspaper and anyone who wants to pony up the $5 can have their own.

If you don't like the way things are run, do it yourself on-line and skip all the oversight.

This is even more true for *college* newspapers.

What am I missing?

-Mark Roulo

maxutils said...

Well . . . how about the fact that the people paying for the papers are taxpayers, not 'government', and tuition paying college students, not 'government'?

allen (in Michigan) said...

And the people paying for the papers elect school boards to represent us in the running of school districts. The school boards, in turn, hire administrators to make the day-to-day decisions necessary to running the school districts.

So there we are.

I assume it's clear that referring every decision to the public, via referendum, would be impractical so the real complaint is that some people weren't happy with the decision.

But if you've got the governance structure we've got for public education such decisions are inevitable and probably fairly widely occurring. After all, school board elections are notoriously widely-ignored by the public so it's inevitable that school boards, and by extension, administration becomes high-handed and arrogant.

The wonder is that this sort of nonsense isn't universal.

If you don't want to hear about this sort of thing ever again there are two solutions:

1) Paying much closer attention to school board elections and promptly voting out inattentive or arrogant school board members. That's not going to happen.

2) Get rid of school boards. That may be in the process of happening. We'll see.

maxutils said...

allen . . . you make a reasonable argument . . .except that -- it doesn't matter who we elect or hire to adnministrate. as a government entity, they are bound by a higher standard of freedon of the press. if you've got a private schol, i agree. but not public. government entities can't be making decisions about censorship. unless it's a 'fire in the theater' argument, or a change to the constitution.