The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 05, 1999, Page 4, Image 4

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Erin Gibson
Cliff Hicks
Nancy Christensen
Brad Davis
Sam McKewon
Jeff Randall
Bret Schulte
“I know there is nothing I can say to
take the pain away. I know what it is like
to lose a child, but that does not excuse
what I did.”
Jeffery Ireland at his sentence, where
Judge Karen Flowers gave Ireland 15-20
“Today he put the team on his back
and said ‘Ride me.’”
NU Wrestling Coach Tim Neumann, on
Bryan Snyders talk that led NU to an upset
win over Iowa State on Sunday
“An error isn’t a mistake until you
refuse to correct it.”
Hastings Sen. Ardyce Bohlke on the
debate over LB 149 and legislation last year
that led to a $22 million miscalculation in
state aid last year
“His books are about people in dan
gerous places doing dangerous things. He
has a richer and nastier sense of human
nature than John Grisham. He also has
this wild imagination. I wonder, ‘Where
does he come up with this stuff?”’
Brent Spencer, director of creative writ
ing at Creighton University on Omaha
author Richard Dooling
“I just want to save the Earth and
make a living at it”
Joel Sartore, UNL graduate, on his job
as a contract photographer for National
“We are probably the most culturally,
generationally and financially diverse
center in the city.”
Karla Decker, F Street Rec Center
director, on the Center’s purpose and reno
“We are interested in enhancing
greek row. The dynamics of the area are
too strong.”
John Benson, director of UNL
Institutional Research and Planning, on
UNL’s Master Plan expansions
“They are out there ... none of them
are particularly efficient in my opinion.
None of them have the legal force behind
Lincoln Sen. Chris Beutler, on lists
designed to protect people from telemar
keters, similar to the one LB427 will intro
“I thought if school didn’t work out, I
could go back to Whistler, but if I didn’t
give school a chance, I was screwed.”
NU gymnast Jason Hardabura, on his
decision between going to school and stay
ing in Whistler, B.C. as a ski bum
“Let’s go down to the pond and mess
with the ducks. Let’s go down to the pond
... I want to get messed up.”
Monkey Boy singer Jimi Hathaway from
the song “The Pond”
“I was a little worried at first, but I
didn’t think it was a really big deal.”
, ' NU recruit Josh Davis, on the status of
his football scholarship
Editorial Pallcy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Spring 1999 Daily Nebraskan. They
do not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. The
UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
letter Policy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
In-school suppression
Freedom of speech should include all ages
senior English and news
editorial major and a Daily
Nebraskan columnist.
Last year, student journalists at
Bellevue West High School pub
lished a feature section on alternative
lifestyles in the school newspaper.
To be included in the series was
an article focusing on two homosex
ual students at the school, as well as
a story about Wicca, a religion often
associated with witchcraft.
The school’s principal pulled
both articles, provoking a statewide
issue while perhaps avoiding a local
ized controversy.
This educator’s actions were
arguably legitimate, according to a
vague precedent set by a 1988 U.S.
Supreme Court decision, Hazelwood
School District v. Kuhlmeier. In a 5-3
decision, the court ruled that school
administrators have the right to mon
itor all student speech and to refuse
the publication of any form of
expression “inconsistent with ‘the
shared values of a civilized order.’”
Voices may change during ado
lescence, but the rights of students to
use those voices should be constant.
The First Amendment should not be
contingent on social standing, age or
even maturity.
The right to drive is granted at'
16; the right to vote comes at 18; and
the right to drink is bequeathed at 21.
If Hazelwood is to be taken literally,
perhaps the U.S. government should
mail a handy wallet-sized Bill of
Rights to all newly ordained citizens
on their 18th birthdays.
While the Supreme Court’s ruling
in this matter is considerably over
bearing, the language used in the
decision is downright frightening.
Phrases such as “shared values” and
“civilized order” conjure up
Orwellian images of Big Brother sit
ting on the other side of the school’s
PA system reading off the day’s lunch
menu and leading the “Pledge of
Allegiance” during homeroom.
Indeed, such a ruling is more
consistent with the harsh censorship
of totalitarian and communist soci
eties, forgetting for the moment that
this is a precedent governing minors,
typically considered second-class cit
izens by law.
With the 10th Amendment in
hand, several states have taken it
upon themselves to enact clearer stu
dent-expression standards.
According to the Student Press Law
Center in Washington, D.C.,
Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Iowa, Kansas and Massachusetts
have already adopted laws extending
free speech to the classroom, and 20
other states have considered such
The Nebraska Legislature is con
sidering a bill sponsored by Lincoln
Sen. Chris Beutler titled the Student
Freedom of Expression Act. The
measure has appeared three times
before the Unicameral but has never
inspired a vote despite the Education
Committee lending its approval to
the proposal late last session.
Given the lengths that unwarrant
ed censorship is allowed to proceed
under Hazelwood, such legislation is
sorely needed. School officials are
basing their editorial decisions not
on whether the work being published
is libelous, inaccurate, obscene or
tends to incite violence - the only
factors that should bar publication -
but on public relations concerns.
In many cases, educators have
overstepped even the vaguest bound
aries of die Hazelwood precedent by
limiting student expression not “rea
sonably related to legitimate peda
gogical concerns.”
in anomer lNeordSKa mgn scnooi,
the principal removed a picture of
students at prom from the yearbook
because he claimed the students
looked too happy not to have been
drunk or on drugs. The same princi
pal removed another yearbook pic
ture in which a girl kissed her
boyfriend on the cheek.
In Michigan, the 14-year-old edi
tor of a middle-school newspaper
approved a story about a student
caught shoplifting during a school
trip. The article was based on a
police report and did not mention the
student’s name because she was a
Administrators admitted to the
accuracy of the story but pulled it
from the publication anyway, appar
ently because it portrayed the school
The student editor sued the
school board in federal court,
prompting a settlement preventing
educators from censoring stories
simply because they reflect negative
ly on the school district.
In the meantime, however, the
school .shut down the newspaper and
the faculty adviser for the paper
This example presents a com
pelling argument: If an educational
institution finances and lends its
name and culpability to a publica
tion, it should be able to control what
is published.
Brian Hale, a representative for
the Nebraska Association of School
Boards, made this assertioii during
committee proceedings for the cur
rent state proposal.
“Freedom of the press is some
thing we all honor, respect and hold
dear,” he said. “But freedom of the
press really exists for the people who
own the press.”
But public education is financed
by taxes and thus is owned by tax
payers, not the school board. While
educators are obligated to advise stu
dents, they should never be allowed
to suppress those in their charge.
Publishers have the unequivocal
right to monitor what they publish.
And while school administrators
hold a similar station, they are more
patron than publisher; it is the educa
tor’s responsibility to propose sug
gestions rather than limitations.
A slim majority of Americans
tend to agree that school authorities
should have the right to monitor stu
dent expression as evidenced by a
survey conducted by Kenneth
Dautrich, Ph.D., of the Center for
Survey Research and Analysis at the
University of Connecticut.
i he study was sponsored by the
Freedom Forum, an international
organization concerned with First
Amendment issues. The shidy
revealed that 54 percent of a random
sample of Americans disagreed with
the following statement: “High
school students should be allowed to
report controv ersial issues in their
student newspaper without approval
of school authorities.”
In comparison. 76 percent of
those surveyed supported the right of
tabloid newspapers to publish what
ever they want.
From fictional sources to
unnamed contacts, the term “journal
istic ethics* is increasingly being
perceived as a contradiction in terms
in the public eye. And considering
the public’s growing apprehension
toward the press, perhaps journalistic
ethics should be instilled at a
younger age.
Indeed, it should be the responsi
bility of educators to teach students,
be they budding journalists or not,
how to use their voices responsibly
and, above all, actively.
But if First Amendment rights are
merely alluded to in history lessons
and not granted at an early age, this
lesson will go untaught.