A Modest Proposal: Don't Try To Censor Students Who Have This Thing We Call The Internet

from the only-positive-stories-around-here... dept

Way back when I was in high school, I wrote for the school newspaper, and occasionally we had some problems with either the paper's "advisors" or the administration not liking something that went into the paper. While we were able to get plenty of stuff published, there were occasional arguments. The best we could do at the time was complain -- and eventually some of us started a non-school-sanctioned paper to allow us to be more free. That, of course, was in the days before the internet was widely available. These days, things work quite differently. Romenesko points us to the somewhat ridiculous story of a principal confiscating the school newspaper and demanding that the students write more "positive and uplifting stories" after he freaked out about a student's attempt to mimic one of the most famous pieces of satire: Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. Apparently, the principal didn't get the satire of the piece, which proposed executing all of those who score in the bottom 25% on an IQ test. Of course, in censoring the paper, the immediate response is pretty much what should be expected these days. The editor of the paper resigned and posted the whole ordeal to Facebook, where it spread quickly, not only making the principal a laughingstock for not recognizing a clear homage to Swift, but it gave the actual column much more attention -- even to the point that the major newspaper in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, republished the student's modest proposal within its own pages. Now that's a positive and uplifting story.

Filed Under: high school newspaper, modest proposal, streisand effect


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Oct 2007 @ 10:54am

    Hrm, nice to know you only need to be able to write on a HS level to get a published article in the news paper. And the print business wonders why it has flagging sales. Beyond that, its not really funny. If you are going to make news out of non-news, at least make sure its worth the read. I know he's only a high school kid, and everything you write while in school is crap. And I'm willing to give the kid some credit for writing it, but for gods sakes this doesn't belong here. This isn't tech, and it isn't dirt. Nor is it even a "neato look at this" article. No one on staff at a public HS could ever let a write-up like that one fly out of its school paper. Imagine if Bush came out and gave a speech with similar content.. oh wait.. he has.. 21% approval rating... Yeah.. Exactly.

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