USA Today's editorial page had a strong editorial this morning supporting student freedom of expression. The headline said "Schools fail Free Speech 101." The secondary headline said "Muzzling student publications sends the wrong message.”
The editorial said, "A major function of schools is to prepare students for life in a democracy. And one of the cornerstones of democracy is the free exchange of ideas. Lessons in bowing to life under censorship shouldn't be part of the curriculum." The editorial specifically mentions the legislation in Washington state, and encourages legislators to enact the bill.
The opposing piece contains so many ironic statements from the school principal (from Grandview, Wash.). It’s interesting to see the fallacious logic. In one particularly weak example, the principal says that students should not be able to offer written expression about a fellow teen's suicide because it might encourage copycat suicides and only adults are mature enough to be able to see that. Of course, a rational person can see that writing about a suicide won't cause more suicides. There are a few logical reasons that make good arguments for the principal's position. Too bad she did not mention many of them.
The national media have done a great job of highlighting this important issue. It's the state media that have, with few exceptions, missed the target on why this is important to the future of democracy but also to the future of their own industry. Meanwhile, the bill is still in the House Rules Committee, and it's not known whether it will move anytime soon.
-- Wenatchee, Wash.