The editor-in-chief of Westminster High School's student newspaper Friday filed a lawsuit seeking a Superior Court order allowing him to print an editorial on AIDS that was rejected by the school principal and district superintendent.
Michael Shindler, 17, a senior, also is asking the court to find unconstitutional a section of the state education code that allows schools to prohibit publication of "obscene, libelous or slanderous" material. The lawsuit contends that the code section violates free speech and freedom of the press.
Shindler's editorial, written for the school paper, the Scroll, decried public misconceptions about acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It criticized the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) for allegedly spreading misinformation about the disease and homosexuals, and it blamed the news media for "promoting hysteria in the American public over AIDS, in an attempt to keep them tuning in for more . . . just like a horror story," according to a copy of the article included in the lawsuit.
On Oct. 29, Shindler submitted the editorial to his journalism adviser, who disapproved of it and referred the matter to Principal Robert Boehme, the lawsuit states. Boehme told Shindler that the article was too political and might be libelous, according to the lawsuit.