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FDL High School journalism students to fight "censorship" policy tonight

FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - Journalism students at Fond du Lac High School say a new policy amounts to censorship -- and they plan to make their case to the School Board Monday night.

Last month, the student magazine "Cardinal Columns" published a story about a new prevalence of jokes at school about rape, with anonymous stories from victims. The principal and superintendent said the subject matter might too suggestive and inappropriate for immature youngsters.

This month, the students were told about a new policy that allows the principal to oversee all student publications, and leave out items so they won't be published. That triggered opposition not only from the students -- but from 16 staffers in Fond du Lac High's English Department. They wrote a 22-page statement which called the rape joke story responsible journalism.  

The teachers also said the new policy censors student expression, and breaks with 100 years of precedent. They urged the School Board to either throw out the new policy, or put it on hold and have a collaboration of interests draft new rules.

Superintendent James Sebert tells the Fond du Lac Reporter the new guidelines are reasonable for a school-sponsored publication. School Board vice president Susan Jones said the issue should be revisited -- and she believes in free speech as long as it's not offensive.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)