Category Archives: Of Interest

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media? An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988 the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article — which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication. This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand. The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media?An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article —which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication.This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand.The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media? An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988 the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article — which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication. This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand. The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media? An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988 the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article — which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication. This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand. The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media? An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988 the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article — which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication. This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand. The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Wisconsin School District Institutes Censorship After Student Newspaper Points Out Rape Jokes Aren’t Funny

Administrators in the Fond du Lac, Wis. school district this week implemented a policy that guarantees them the right to review all content of school media prior to publication. Any article that the administrators deem “poorly written, inadequately researched, false, defamatory or libelous, vulgar or profane, unsuitable for immature audiences, or biased or prejudiced”will be yanked from the publication or otherwise censored.

The root of this heavy-handed approach to student media? An article written by the Cardinal Columns editor in chief, in which she points out that a lot of people in her school have made and heard rape jokes and that the rape victims in her school don’t find them funny. Senior Tanvi Kumar uses a well-executed survey of her peers to show how people have no problem talking about rape like it’s the funniest thing out there. In addition, she interviews several rape victims about their experiences and victimization.

The piece is better than most coverage I’ve seen in college papers and even some pro publications. It’s also interesting that no one is accusing the publication of being libelous or anything else listed above. Instead, couched deeper in this policy is a “we can do what we want if we want to” clause.

The school’s response is one that should make almost everyone cringe.Let’s skip past the whole “First Amendment is still a thing” issue and cut to the specificity of this incident.

The student PUBLICATION is being punished for pointing out that RAPE IS REAL and it SUCKS WHEN IT HAPPENS TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.

After I read the article, I had a conversation with another parent in my kid’s class about it and the reaction from the parent was, “Well, when your kid gets to high school, would you want her reading about this?”

My answer was pretty simple: That’s not even close to the point. The kid pointed out something real and scary and my hope as a parent is that the school would DO SOMETHING at the school about the issue of rape. Administrators could open more dialogue, look for ways to reinforce the issue that this isn’t OK and joking about it is not cool. That’s what I’d want to happen. Even more, I would hope that my kid would read about it and we could talk about what to do in situations where she felt pressure and what was not acceptable behavior. Information breeds dialogue, which in turn creates opportunities to prevent scary things like this.

Administrators don’t like dialogue for the most part and use a horrible SCOTUS decision in an ass-backward fashion to suppress student speech.

In 1988 the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier casedetermined that administrators may inhibit the publication of some content if they believe it has the ability to inhibit education within the school. In other words, if you create an article that can grind the school to a halt, administrators have the right to censor it.

Subsequent decisions at lower courts have tried to refine this, and explain that the bar for this is really pretty high. Still, administrators treat this decision like it came from God and endows them with the power of the Avengers: I CAN HAZ MY CENZORS!

The administration’s reaction in this case is probably the worst one possible:

[Superintendent James Sebert] points to aspects of “The Rape Joke” article — which includes some graphic description of the types of rape a student endured, a letter from the editors called “The Punchline,” and a Pledge of Allegiance editorial that instructs students on their rights to not stand during the Pledge as questionable material for a school publication. Sebert said he and Wiltzius met with Matthew Smith, the print journalism teacher at the high school and adviser to the magazine’s staff, to discuss the issues.

“Cardinal Columns is created as part of the print journalism class at Fond du Lac High School,” Sebert wrote. “District resources are utilized and the publication represents the school and the district. The guidelines created will ensure this publication as well as any school-sponsored publications are reviewed by the principal prior to print and publication. This is a reasonable expectation for a school-sponsored publication.

(Emphasis mine)

So, the superintendent didn’t like the really icky description of rape that the students used because, y’know, it might be uncomfortable for people to hear. The lesson here? Remember, kids, when discussing rape, make sure to use language that accentuates the positivity of the issue and that you don’t make people feel uncomfortable about it. It was also horrible that they pointed out that students still have Constitutional rights and that the students came out against rape culture.

No wonder we need to censor them.

The principal, however, said students don’t really need to worry about this because he’s a cool guy:

High School principal Jon Wiltzius says,”If an article would come to me with a topic that does not meet the expectations or guidelines then yes I will have to deny that.”

But Principal Wiltzius says that doesn’t mean the story is dead. Instead he says he will work with the journalism students and their teacher to come up with what he deems is an acceptable way to present a topic.

Says Wiltzius, “As we work through that process now of identifying what’s appropriate, what’s not based on those guidelines I think that’s where the communication has to occur as well.”

I’m sure there are a number of hyperbolic comparatives we could make here about a leader taking away the rights of others, only to tell them not to worry because he will assure them that he’s acting in their best interest. However, to make any of them would distract from the importance of the message here: I’m censoring you and I have the final say about this, but don’t worry about it because I promise you I’ll be nice about it.

This kind of thing can’t be allowed to stand. The students have created a petition, requesting that the superintendent reverse the policy and restore the rights of the school publications.

I ask that you sign it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Unlike the Fond du Lac administrators, I’m not presuming that I know better than you or that I can force you to bend to my will because I want you to.

Paragraph Of The Day: Hadley Freeman Edition

Hadley Freeman writes about fashion, popular culture, and whatever else strikes her fancy for the Guardian This graph comes from a piece calledThe Elan Gale internet hoax sums up all that is rotten about our online lives:

Gale is a TV producer from Los Angeles. He is also the proud winner of “Most tragic display of attention-seeking neediness of the week”, beating evenKate Moss posing in Playboy with a pom-pom pinned to her rear end – so you’re already getting an idea of the depths of idiocy here. Last Thursday, while many Americans were trying to escape their families and digest their Thanksgiving turkey, Gale entertained themby live-tweeting an encounter on an aeroplane with a woman called “Diane”. He described how he avenged Diane’s rudeness to the air stewards by telling her to “eat my dick”, and the internet cheered. Thinkpieces sprouted up instantly, some asking why the web was so casually misogynistic, others asking whether so many would have been supportive of Gale’s vigilantism if he’d been anything other than a Caucasian man. Most simply claimed Gale had“won Thanksgiving” (sorry, pilgrims). And then it transpired on Monday night, after several days ofself-defensive self-righteousness from Gale, that he hadmade the whole thing up. Incidentally, Gale is 30. Not 13. Thirty.

When I read about this, I immediately smelled a rat in troll drag. Lots of folks were taken in, but why someone who was rude to defend politeness briefly became a “hero” on the interwebs is beyond me. Having been in retail for many years, I hate it when someone demeans a service industry worker, but stooping to their level is not something that I find attractive or appealing. It’s certainly not “heroic” since being a tweeting smart ass doesn’t remotely rise to the level of heroism. It makes you a mobile couch potato with a smartphone that is being used very, very stupidly.

Make sure you read Hadley’s entire article. It rocks and she rules. That is all.

Louisiana Curses

This hasn’t got anything to do withAmerican Horror Story:Coven or other witchy/voodooy curse nonsense but with a survey about which state curses the most. My current home state, Louisiana is number 4. Fuck yeah, fuckin’ A,

Louisiana is also the fourth most courteous state according to this click bait driven (it worked with me obviously) survey. Thank you for moving out the fucking way. We’re the only motherfuckers to make both goddamn lists thank you very much. They’re not polite in Jersey? Who the fuck knew? Everyone…

Here are some swell looking charts courtesy ofMarcex;

188fbd42ec6ddbc531fe9802cd9a2ce9

Stay classy, Sometimes-Picayune

The geniuses who gave us TP Street and a confusing publication schedule have struck again. This time on the editorial side. There was a lurid story on the front page of Wednesday’s dead tree edition, which claimed to *protect* the identity of one of the story’s protagonists:

A New Orleans taxi driver was arrested Monday after allegedly using
his cellphone to record video underneath a woman’s skirt without her
permission, then using the footage to try and bribe her.

Hervey
Farrell, of Metairie, was arrested near the intersection of Canal and
Carondelet streets on Monday about 12:40 p.m. and booked on charges of
voyeurism and extortion for reportedly shooting lewd footage of a
32-year-old woman while she was a passenger in his cab in April 2012.

According
to an arrest warrant filed in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court,
Farrell reportedly shot video of underneath the woman’s skirt, exposing
her underwear and genitals to the camera. The woman told police she had
never given Farrell, 38, permission to record her.

Later, the
court record states, Farrell sent a copy of the video to the woman’s
attorney via email. The message was accompanied by a threat that if he
received $1,000, the camera video footage would disappear, court records
show.

The woman, whose name is being withheld to protect her
identity, agreed to speak with NOLA.com |The Times-Picayune on the
condition that she keep her anonymity.

A lawyer and the host of a
local radio show, the woman calls herself a “public figure” and said
she believes it is because of this, in part, that she was taken
advantage of. She had openly discussed her local notoriety with the
cabdriver before the incident, she said.

“I was intoxicated, I
had had too much to drink,” the woman said, “but that doesn’t make it
OK for him to have done what he did. What he did to me was criminal, and
wrong.”

The story also told us that she was 32 years old and a single mother. (The last detail has been removed from the online version. Holy CYA, Batman.) It took me about 47 seconds to discern her identity with the help of Mr. Google. A friend of mine consulted with Der MS Bingle and figured it out in 72 seconds.

So, the Picayune promised to protect someone’s identity but put so much information in the story that it was easy to figure out who she was. Talk about having it both ways, Advance Media. You promised anonymity to someone but still allowed the commenters on NOLA.com to engage in an orgy of sermonizing and slut shaming.

I wonder if Advance still has “content editors” because this story obviously needed some editing and source protecting. That’s how a “robust” news organization would have handled a story like this.

Another disappointing thing about this debacle is that the story was reported by a woman, Helen Freund. She seems to be a Picayune newbie since her first “post” on NOLA. com is dated 11/7/2012.Baby reporters used to have training and supervision but who knows how it rolls at the Sometimes-Picayune in the dogs days of 2013. Obviously, Helen was no freund to her source…

Finally, repeat after me: Hervey rhymes with Pervy.

That is all.

Cross-posted at Humid City.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Heads Up

What’s pulpier than severed heads? Nothing. Here’s another classic sideshow banner by Fred G. Johnson:

5855756474_7c4b497e26_o

Paragraph Of The Day: Hadley Freeman Edition

Hadley Freeman writes about fashion, popular culture, and whatever else strikes her fancy for the Guardian This graph comes from a piece called The Elan Gale internet hoax sums up all that is rotten about our online lives:

Gale is a TV producer from Los Angeles. He is also the proud winner of “Most tragic display of attention-seeking neediness of the week”, beating even Kate Moss posing in Playboy with a pom-pom pinned to her rear end – so you’re already getting an idea of the depths of idiocy here. Last Thursday, while many Americans were trying to escape their families and digest their Thanksgiving turkey, Gale entertained them by live-tweeting an encounter on an aeroplane with a woman called “Diane”. He described how he avenged Diane’s rudeness to the air stewards by telling her to “eat my dick”, and the internet cheered. Thinkpieces sprouted up instantly, some asking why the web was so casually misogynistic, others asking whether so many would have been supportive of Gale’s vigilantism if he’d been anything other than a Caucasian man. Most simply claimed Gale had “won Thanksgiving” (sorry, pilgrims). And then it transpired on Monday night, after several days of self-defensive self-righteousness from Gale, that he had made the whole thing up. Incidentally, Gale is 30. Not 13. Thirty.

When I read about this, I immediately smelled a rat in troll drag. Lots of folks were taken in, but why someone who was rude to defend politeness briefly became a “hero” on the interwebs is beyond me. Having been in retail for many years, I hate it when someone demeans a service industry worker, but stooping to their level is not something that I find attractive or appealing. It’s certainly not “heroic” since being a tweeting smart ass doesn’t remotely rise to the level of heroism. It makes you a mobile couch potato with a smartphone that is being used very, very stupidly.

Make sure you read Hadley’s entire article. It rocks and she rules. That is all.

Closed-Minded, Racist, Rigid, Old-Fashioned

This post title is taken from a report issued by the College National Republican Committee. It describes younger voters’ attitudes about the GOP.It also describes this story out of Atmore, Alabama:

An Escambia Academy High School student said she was denied a diploma
and fined $1,000 for wearing an eagle feather at her graduation.

For 17-year-old Chelsey Ramer, graduating on May 23 was supposed to be a joyous occasion.

“I was excited,” said Ramer.

It has been more than a week, and she still does not have her diploma. She said it is all because of her feather.

“They told me that if I wore it that they would pull me off the field,” said Ramer.

The
eagle feather is part of her Native American Heritage. Ramer is of the
Poarch Creek Band of Indians. She wanted to wear the feather as a
show of pride for her heritage.

“Being honored with a feather
for graduation is a wonderful experience. It’s a lot more than showing
off your culture. It has ties into our spirituality as well,” Ramer’s
former teacher Alex Alvarez.

According to a school contract, Ramer must pay a $1,000 fine to get her diploma and transcripts.

“I don’t think it’s fair at all. I feel like its discrimination,” Ramer stated.

The
contract states, “Students and staff shall not wear extraneous items
during graduation exercises unless approved by the administration.”

Ramer stated she asked the Headmaster at the time for permission to wear the eagle feather.

“She told us we could not wear our feathers,” said Ramer.

Shortly after inquiring, Ramer said she was told she must sign the dress code contract to walk on graduation.

Ramer stated, “I never signed it,”

Instead, she still walked across the stage proudly with her feathers and family’s support.

“It was worth it. It means a lot to me,” said Ramer.

I wonder if it would have been okay if she wanted to wear sheets? Imagine fining a high school girl $10000 for making a culturally based fashion statement. Disgusting.

My Kingdom For A Tomb

Call me an oddball, but my favorite current weird news story is the whole Richard III skeleton found in a Leicester car park (Britspeak for parking lot) saga. It’s got it all: death, royals, and DNA. The pro-Plantagenet press corps is busy bashing the Tudor-ites who, in turn, are dissing the Windsors. I made that last bit up.

It’s always fun when historical myth turns out to be true as it has in this case. Of course, it has also brought on a bit of revisionism as well: was poor Richard as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be? Probably not, the Bard was sucking up to the Tudors and it would have been hard for *anyone* to be as big a monster as Henry VIII.

My interest in Richard III stems from a very good high school English teacher, Miss Jackson, who had a way of teaching Shakespeare that held the interest of a group of hormonally crazed California teenagers. Not an easy feat.

The Guardian has been all over the story.Here’s the master link. The latest story is about the re-creation of Richard’s face. I prefer to think of the face of the great actor who played him in the modernized version of Shakespeare’s Richard III that hit stage and screen in the 1990’s, Ian McKellen. He is, alas, better known for wearing a ZZ Top-style beard whilst playing Gandalf but here he is playing the King as Fascist dictator:

McKellen-Richard III-15

Louisiana Curses

This hasn’t got anything to do with American Horror Story:Coven or other witchy/voodooy curse nonsense but with a survey about w hich state curses the most. My current home state, Louisiana is number 4. Fuck yeah, fuckin’ A,

Louisiana is also the fourth most courteous state according to this click bait driven (it worked with me obviously) survey. Thank you for moving out the fucking way. We’re the only motherfuckers to make both goddamn lists thank you very much. They’re not polite in Jersey? Who the fuck knew? Everyone…

Here are some swell looking charts courtesy of Marcex;

188fbd42ec6ddbc531fe9802cd9a2ce9

Anthony Lewis, R.I.P.

Anthony Lewis was the first national newspaper columnist I remember reading. His column at the New York Times ran from 1969 to 2001 and he was usually right and always lucid and thoughtful, no MoDo-style gotcha bullshit for Tony Lewis.He died today at the age of 85.

Lewis was widely credited with revolutionizing coverage of the Supremes and wrote 2 great books about the Warren Court and some of its landmark cases:Gideon’s Trumpet and Make No Law.

It’s a pity that most folks in the MSM nowadays lack Lewis’ common decency and reporting skills. The fact that the NYT has gone from having him and Tom Wicker as leading columnists to Tom Friedman and MoDo makes a mockery of the theory of evolution but what can ya do?

Anthony Lewis, R.I.P.

Anthony Lewis was the first national newspaper columnist I remember reading. His column at the New York Times ran from 1969 to 2001 and he was usually right and always lucid and thoughtful, no MoDo-style gotcha bullshit for Tony Lewis.He died today at the age of 85.

Lewis was widely credited with revolutionizing coverage of the Supremes and wrote 2 great books about the Warren Court and some of its landmark cases:Gideon’s Trumpet andMake No Law.

It’s a pity that most folks in the MSM nowadays lack Lewis’ common decency and reporting skills. The fact that the NYT has gone from having him and Tom Wicker as leading columnists toTom Friedman andMoDo makes a mockery of the theory of evolution but what can ya do?

My Kingdom For A Tomb

Call me an oddball, but my favorite current weird news story is the wholeRichard III skeleton found in a Leicester car park (Britspeak for parking lot) saga. It’s got it all: death, royals, and DNA. The pro-Plantagenet press corps is busy bashing the Tudor-ites who, in turn, are dissing the Windsors. I made that last bit up.

It’s always fun when historical myth turns out to be true as it has in this case. Of course, it has also brought on a bit of revisionism as well: was poor Richard as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be? Probably not, the Bard was sucking up to the Tudors and it would have been hard for *anyone* to be as big a monster as Henry VIII.

My interest in Richard III stems from a very good high school English teacher, Miss Jackson, who had a way of teaching Shakespeare that held the interest of a group of hormonally crazed California teenagers. Not an easy feat.

The Guardian has been all over the story.Here’s the master link. The latest story is about there-creation of Richard’s face. I prefer to think of the face of the great actor who played him in the modernized version of Shakespeare’sRichard III that hit stage and screen in the 1990’s, Ian McKellen. He is, alas, better known for wearing a ZZ Top-style beard whilst playing Gandalf but here he is playing the King as Fascist dictator:

McKellen-Richard III-15

It’s Never Time For The Blame Game

My Twitter feed is all over this New York Times op-ed, in which journalist Kurt Eichenwald reveals the numerous warnings of an Al Qaeda attack in the months leading up to 9/11. Not just the infamous Aug. 6 PDB, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.,” but CIA reports from May 1, June 22, June 29, July 9, and July 24. And then there were the FBI reports of Al Qaeda-connected terrorists training to fly (but not land) airplanes at U.S. flight schools. And on, and on. All ignored. Why?

Eichenwald writes:

[…] An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

Oh, right. Saddam Hussein. The guy the Neocons had been gunning for since forever. Wow, what a spectacular fail that was, right? But no, we never got to play the “blame game,” not really. We never really learned any lessons about the many ways our politics and our corporate interests meddle in our national security. We’re still taking our shoes off at the airport and dumping our water bottles at the TSA check point, though: a clear sign that this is a country completely out of ideas.

Do you remember Sept. 10, 2001? I do. I remember all the talk on the news was about Bush’s hard-on for “Star Wars,” and all of us were laughing because, wasn’t that a Reagan thing? Some missile defense shield thingie to protect us from Soviet nukes? Bush’s constant harping on the need for this bazillion dollar program just made me wonder what fucking decade he was living in, like we were back in the ’80s but without the shoulder pads and bad hair. And then some dudes armed with box cutters attacked the country and killed nearly 3,000 people. Oh, woopsies. Don’t hear much about “Star Wars” anymore, do you?

And so it goes. Ari Fleischer has taken to twitter to denounce Eichenwald as a “truther” — this word is viewed among conservatives as their version of “birther,” though these folks never really distance themselves from the birthers, do they? I mean, I’m trying to remember how many “truthers” ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004 and 2008. Oh, right. Zero.

But yes, that’s a neat trick: paint someone revealing the Bush Administration’s dangerous incompetence as a “truther.” Nice try. They really don’t want us looking under that rock, do they?

I’m no “truther.” I don’t believe the Twin Towers fell due to a planned demolition, that the Jews who worked there were told to stay home that day, and all of the other conspiracy BS coming from that crowd of wackjobs. But the Bush Administration being dangerously incomepetent? Hell, yeah. We saw that incompetence carried out over and over and over again throught the horrible Oughts: Saddam’s failure to have WMD, the failure to properly plan and carry out the Iraq War, the failed Hurricane Katrina response and a thousand smaller failures, too. The Bush Administration was nothing if not the most incompetent collection of idiots and nincompoops handed the reins of power in this country’s history.

Here’s a scary thought: a big majority of these flaming idiots are advising Mitt Romney. God help us if he wins in November because we’ll see the same Neocons in charge of our security and foreign policy who failed us 11 years ago. Romney has called Russia this country’s biggest threat, which gave President Obama his “Cold War mind warp” zinger in his convention speech. But it’s true. Repubicans seem stuck in 1952, in more ways than one. It’s like they need that Commie threat, they don’t know how to survive without it. It’s their version of heroin.

This kind of thinking is dangerous. This is where it leads:

DSCN4131

It’s Never Time For The Blame Game

My Twitter feed is all overthis New York Times op-ed, in which journalist Kurt Eichenwald reveals the numerous warnings of an Al Qaeda attack in the months leading up to 9/11. Not just the infamous Aug. 6 PDB, “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.,” but CIA reports from May 1, June 22, June 29, July 9, and July 24. And then there werethe FBI reports of Al Qaeda-connected terrorists training to fly (but not land) airplanes at U.S. flight schools. And on, and on. All ignored. Why?

Eichenwald writes:

[…] An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.

Oh, right. Saddam Hussein. The guy the Neocons had been gunning for since forever. Wow, what a spectacular fail that was, right? But no, we never got to play the “blame game,” not really. We never really learned any lessons about the many ways our politics and our corporate interests meddle in our national security. We’re still taking our shoes off at the airport and dumping our water bottles at the TSA check point, though: a clear sign that this is a country completely out of ideas.

Do you remember Sept. 10, 2001? I do. I remember all the talk on the news was about Bush’s hard-on for “Star Wars,” and all of us were laughing because, wasn’t that a Reagan thing? Some missile defense shield thingie to protect us from Soviet nukes? Bush’s constant harping on the need for this bazillion dollar program just made me wonder what fucking decade he was living in, like we were back in the ’80s but without the shoulder pads and bad hair. And then some dudes armed with box cutters attacked the country and killed nearly 3,000 people. Oh, woopsies. Don’t hear much about “Star Wars” anymore, do you?

And so it goes. Ari Fleischer has taken to twitter to denounce Eichenwald as a “truther” — this word is viewed among conservatives as their version of “birther,” though these folks never really distance themselves from the birthers, do they? I mean, I’m trying to remember how many “truthers” ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004 and 2008. Oh, right. Zero.

But yes, that’s a neat trick: paint someone revealing the Bush Administration’s dangerous incompetence as a “truther.” Nice try. Theyreally don’t want us looking under that rock, do they?

I’m no “truther.” I don’t believe the Twin Towers fell due to a planned demolition, that the Jews who worked there were told to stay home that day, and all of the other conspiracy BS coming from that crowd of wackjobs. But the Bush Administration being dangerously incomepetent? Hell, yeah. We saw that incompetence carried out over and over and over again throught the horrible Oughts: Saddam’s failure to have WMD, the failure to properly plan and carry out the Iraq War, the failed Hurricane Katrina response and a thousand smaller failures, too. The Bush Administration was nothing if not the most incompetent collection of idiots and nincompoops handed the reins of power in this country’s history.

Here’s a scary thought: a big majority of these flaming idiots are advising Mitt Romney. God help us if he wins in November because we’ll see the same Neocons in charge of our security and foreign policy who failed us 11 years ago. Romney has called Russia this country’s biggest threat, which gave President Obama his “Cold War mind warp” zinger in his convention speech. But it’s true. Repubicans seem stuck in 1952, in more ways than one. It’s like theyneed that Commie threat, they don’t know how to survive without it. It’s their version of heroin.

This kind of thinking is dangerous. This is where it leads:

DSCN4131