JISHOU, HUNAN — Wonkette has already commented on this story in its inimitable way, but I haven’t written a high school press freedom blog in years. So, suffer me this rare chance.
Student journalists at Fond du Lac (Wisconsin) High School did a boffo piece on rape, rape culture, and rape jokes. Scroll to the end of this linked page and read it yourself. It was well written, informative and mature, and included helpful links for readers needing counseling or advice. I mean, it was nearly professional, the kind of piece student newspapers get state and national scholastic press awards for.
The administration of FDLHS spiked it.
That’s right. Right now in the 21st century high school students still cannot discuss sex in print, no matter how well written and researched their articles are. If I were the principal of this school, I’d be damned proud of these kids. But, you know, I’m not the boss. And also, sex, teenagers. OMFG!
The administration did not break any laws, because the Supreme Court ruled long ago that schools have the right to censor student publications if they are part of an academic course. The best we can do as sympathetic observers is ridicule the school for its antediluvian attitudes.
Mightn’t it be important for high school students to know something about rape? To learn that rape jokes are inappropriate — and shall we say, juvenile? — and more importantly, who to go to if they themselves have been raped?
Protip for school administrators — parents, even: Teenagers have sex. This may come as a shock to you, since your own teen years are now all lost in a blur in your minds. But trust me, teen sex happens. Moreover, this kind of wanton behavior has been going on for, oh, about 250,000 years or more now. Do try to keep up.
If the administration’s decision to spike the story was to protect teen minds from sexy thoughts, or the school from angry, blue-nosed parents aghast at teens having sexy thoughts, its effort has failed miserably. For one thing, this is not like the old days, when student newspapers were on something quaintly called newsprint. The Fond du Lac student newspaper is 21st century; it’s online, and once on the Internet, forever on the Internet. (Politicians have still not caught on to this feature. Deleting embarrassing online statements does not make them disappear.)
Secondly, now that the media has covered this controversy, the piece will now get even wider circulation and recognition, and (I hope) the administration of FDLHS will look even more like the fools they are.