As student journalists, we strive to embody the courage to act. At the forefront of our work lies the core values as well as our mission statement. In every issue we produce, we publish our goal to “[create] a collaborative, open forum that cultivates productive dialogue within the school community.” However, this environment cannot be fulfilled when we lose the ability to use our voices.
As a voice within the community, we feel it is our duty to explain the censorship issue we encountered when we interfered with the administration in our March 2018 print issue. We have always taken pride in our strong relationship with the administration and appreciate the trust they hold in us to report and write honestly, accurately and respectfully.
Yet, in Issue 4 of The Standard, a Letter to the Editor was censored and completely removed, requiring us to reprint the paper. We understand that there was rational reasoning behind the decision to remove the article, but that underlines a greater issue: as a paper that is school-funded, the administration will always get the final say.
As a publication that embodies the voices of the students, the courage to act by speaking up for ourselves and others, is crucial. It is important for the community to know that we value these unheard voices and that our publication is a platform for their opinions. With the recent censorship, we are worried that this aspect of student voice was lost, and students’ courage to act was restricted.
We do not take our positions as student journalists lightly. We appreciate the freedom we have received in past issues to consistently publish our work and opinions both in print and online. We know we are student leaders in the High School and it is essential to embody all values the school maintains. It is a privilege to share our articles and those of other students with the community.
Whether or not we, as an Editorial Board, agree with the articles censored does not factor into our disappointment. We solely argue that censorship as a principle is wrong. No members of our community should be barred from speaking their mind based on fear or pressure put onto them by others. Furthermore, this is not The Standard’s first encounter with censorship. This was the most abhorrent case as it was not our voices which were silenced, but the voices of members of the student body who wished to share their opinion.
This sets an alarming precedent. We are unable to provide a platform for students if the administration is so easily intimidated by external pressures to silence its students. This Editorial Board firmly believes that the administration should defend its students before catering to the demands of parents.
As students, we make mistakes, yet only when we recognize these mistakes are we able to move on from them. However, this cannot happen when there is no dialogue or room for conversation. As an Editorial Board, filled with students who are both journalists and concerned community members, we cannot stress the importance of autonomy of the press, and trust in student voices, enough.
Written by The Editorial Board