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Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community to express one’s opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or punishment. For one high school newspaper that right was felt as if it was taken away. On January 18th, 2018 one of Herriman High school’s student Journalist and News Editor Conor Spahr released a story for the schools paper The Telegraph that an ex-Herriman High School teacher was being investigated for misconduct.
Fox 13 confirmed that the Unified Police Department was investigating alleged misconduct by Ryan White, who ended his job as a teacher at Herriman High School in November of last year. White allegedly texted a 17-year-old student during the course of a school year, and then after the student graduated. Some of the text messages the student received were allegedly inappropriate.
In publishing Spahr’s article, editor-in-chief Max Gordon and his staff may have broken the school’s prior review policy. There is disagreement about when prior review applies to The Telegraph. The students said they did not break it, because they met with and incorporated Vice Principal Richard Price’s edits, and that online stories don’t need to be approved. Max Gordon, editor in chief of the school newspaper stated “We want to actually do our job as a publication and write stories that people care about,”.
Because of the school administration forcing the shutdown of the papers website, the staff of The Telegraph created a new website called The Telegram that is beyond the reach of the school administrators. Gabriel Greschler, a reporter for the Student Press Law Center stated that “They also wrote an open letter Wednesday asking the administration to restore the piece on The Telegraph website and allow print publication of the censored article. Their petition to “end the censorship of The Herriman High Telegraph” had 473 signatures as of Jan. 24.” Not only have local papers got wind of this but so did a few national papers. It blew up big, not only to local papers but national ones as well such as the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, KSL, The Sal Lake Tribune and also Fox 13 News.
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