Then, the second right being infringed by censorship is that of proper information. It is however true that the students can find the information on all media channels; but it is also true that a respectable high school newspaper has the obligation of presenting the facts as they are. “Indeed, it wasnt only student journalists who were hurt […]; it also was their readers, particularly students who might have limited exposure to newspapers or magazines at home. By showing them how an investigative story or a lively opinion section can add to their understanding of the school they attend, an ambitious, uncensored student newspaper teaches principles that are essential to a free society: the importance of skepticism, criticism and empiricism; the necessity of checks on authority; the centrality of open debate to democratic culture” (Just, 2008)
The third right being violated by abusive censorship is that of a proper education and professional formation of the future journalist. By forcing them to redo their work based on the preferences of the principal, the young journalists are prevented from conducing a proper investigation, from properly challenging the subject, analyzing and criticising it (Just, 2008).
It is an undoubted fact that the high school principals implementing censorship over the articles in the school newspaper have the best interest of their students at heart. However, on the long-term they might do more harm that good, as they prevent writers from properly conducting an investigation and learning to form an objective opinion.
Censorship of the high school newspaper breaks all norms of a democratic society and teaches young journalists that its ok to have their work shred to peaces because the principal does not approve of it. “More than just the health of journalism education was at stake. Hazelwood was about the values that we teach the next generation, the people who will carry the American democratic project forward” (Just, 2008).
Undoubted is also the fact that the school newspaper must not be turned into a presentation of all that is wrong in the world, including murders, rapes or other criminal activities. But the journalists must have the right to state their opinions and findings in regard to any social, political or economic matter. They must not be obliged to simply write “fluffy profiles of teachers and to celebrate the achievements of their sports teams” (Just, 2008).
Therefore, the best solution would be for the school to hire a neutral party to handle the articles being published. This party would not work for the benefit of nor principal, neither students. He would ensure that the articles presented are unbiased and not influenced by the principals preferences, but they neither turn the school newspaper into the narration of murders, terrorist attacks and rapes.
Just, Richard, Unmuzzling High School Journalists, Washington Post, January 12, 2008
U.S. Constitution: First Amendment, Retrieved from Find Law, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/on January.