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U.S. Supreme Court Justices OK Censorship of Student Newspapers

January 23, 1988

As a teacher of journalism, I am appalled by the decision that empowers school officials to censor school newspapers. Justice Byron White's judgment is an insult to the integrity of journalism teachers and students as it undermines the very fundamental basis of education: that is to teach students to think and act in an independent and intelligent manner.

Journalism education, when done right, is a delicate and complicated process of inculcating students with the ethical values to undertake the responsibility of educating and informing their community. The Supreme Court has insulted the intelligence of every teen-ager and educator in the country.

As a teacher I train students to determine the needs of their reader. They must learn how best to help that reader understand himself and his community. This involves asking that reader to think about painful situations like teen pregnancy. Kuhlmeier and her fellow writers of Hazelwood East should be praised for their brave attack on social problems, their fine work with investigative reporting and interviewing, and their courage in fighting for their constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court.

After 10 years of teaching, I cannot think of any truly "pedagogical concern" that could possibly cause so much damage to the educational process and to future generations of writers and thinkers.

SUSAN TURNER JONES

Los Angeles

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