The Kirkwood Call

Letter to Neshaminy HS from KHS publications

Courtesy of the Playwickian

Claire Hubert, Pioneer Editor-In-Chief

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September 23, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

As student journalists, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all journalists are created equal, that we are endowed by our government with certain unalienable rights. The founders of our country and the framers of our constitution fought to give its citizens personal liberties, one of the most important being that of free speech. When we, the student journalists of Kirkwood High School in St. Louis, Missouri, read about the restrictive requirements you placed on your newspaper staff in regards to usage of the word “Redskins,” we were shocked by the violation of constitutional rights you allowed to take place. Besides the protections allocated in the very First Amendment, there are a plethora of Supreme Court cases upholding the validity of our right to freedom of speech. As citizens of the United States of America, we are allowed to chose what we want to say, or inversely, what we do not want to say. Under the First Amendment, no one person can force any other to say something they don’t want to. It’s no coincidence the Framers chose to acknowledge this issue first in the bill of rights.

The majority opinion from the 1969 decision of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District says student do not shed their constitutional rights at the school gate. Furthermore, the majority opinion from the 1943 decision of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette says “a person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it, and what is one man’s comfort and inspiration is another’s jest and scorn.” While it may be your opinion that it is necessary for the Playwickian staff to use the word “Redskins” in their publication, it is appalling that you are attempting to force them to use a phrase they find offensive. It is appalling you have chosen to ignore not only Supreme Court and it is even more disgusting that you suspended Ms. Huber, Pennsylvania School Press Association teacher of the year, for doing her job: that of supporting her students. The fact advisers across the nation are banding together to supplement Ms. Huber’s pay for the time she was suspended should speak volumes.

Besides the obvious constitutional and judicial precedent infringements, this issue comes down to a matter of character and ethics. What example does it set for the rest of your student body and community if you punish students for standing up against something they have found offensive? We urge you to reconsider your past decision in suspending Ms. Huber, refurbish the funds you withheld from the Playwickian staff, and rethink attempting to force them to use a word they have deemed offensive and derogatory.

 

Sincerely,

Claire Hubert, Pioneer Yearbook Editor-in-Chief

Dillon Hodges, Pioneer Yearbook Editor-in-Chief

Lucy Dwyer, The Kirkwood Call Editor-in-Chief

Tara Hawkins, The Kirkwood Call Print editor

Kirkwood High School Pioneer and Call staffs

 

September 23, 2014

Dear Publications Staffs of Neshaminy High School,

 

As fellow student journalists and citizens, we wanted to express our solidarity with you in pursuit of our First Amendment rights. We support your decisions and applaud you for standing up for the rights the founding fathers of our country fought for: too often, student publications falls victim to administrations who don’t understand the inalienable rights we have as United States citizens. We will be sending a letter to your administrators expressing how important our rights are in addition to bringing your case to attention in the St. Louis area. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Sincerely,

Claire Hubert, Pioneer Yearbook Editor-in-Chief

Dillon Hodges, Pioneer Yearbook Editor-in-Chief

Lucy Dwyer, The Kirkwood Call Editor-in-Chief

Tara Hawkins, The Kirkwood Call Print Editor

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Letter to Neshaminy HS from KHS publications