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Censorship In Shelton?

Censorship In Shelton?

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Published by ValleyIndyDotOrg
Censorship In Shelton?
Censorship In Shelton?

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Published by: ValleyIndyDotOrg on Jul 09, 2014
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Changes to Gael Winds by Dr.


1. Every year in January, our school sponsors a winter dance known as Snowflake Swirl, which is
commonly referred to as “Swirl.” Every year, we include an insert about the dance in our
December issue as a way of promoting the event. This year, one of our cub reporters included the
phrases “Get your freak on”, and “A little Swirl never killed nobody,” in the insert, the latter
being a humorous reference to the film The Great Gatsby. Mrs. Finley told us after the insert was
subjected to prior review that the word “freaking” had to be removed because of “school
regulations.” The word “freaking” was not used as a sexual reference, but we were still ordered to
remove it.

2. On the Gael Winds Twitter account (@Gael_Winds) we promoted a page from our March edition
regarding the Oscars. On the page, one of our staff members cropped Ellen DeGeneres’s face
onto an Oscar award, and on Twitter, we ran a short-lived campaign to meet Ellen and show her
this page. Mrs. Finley informed us that Dr. Smith was upset because she felt she was not
informed of this in advance. In other words, she was acting as if she owned not only the
newspaper, but its Twitter account as well.

3. We featured an article on the SHS Student Council’s participation at a conference sponsored by
NASC. This particular conference was pirate themed, and the writer of the article used pirate
jargon to make the piece humorous, The word “booty” was used not as a sexual connotation, but
as a reference to the success and knowledge our student council would obtain at the conference.
Mrs. Finley told us that after prior review, the line “bring home the booty” had to be changed.
She later indicated to us that the word “booty” itself could not be used anywhere in the article, as
per Dr. Smith’s request.

4. Every year, we include a Senior Section in the last edition of the newspaper. This section
addresses graduation and highlights where every senior will be going in the fall. As part of the
Section this year, we featured a Q & A article in which students who were seniors last year (and
thus just finished their freshman year of college) offer advice to this year’s college-bound seniors.
Kylie English, a senior from last year, offered the following advice:
“Skipping class is actually ok; just make sure you have a friend in the class who can
tell you exactly what you missed so you’re prepared for the next one.”

Even though this was a DIRECT QUOTE, when subjected to prior review, the quote
was ordered to be changed. We changed it to this: “Do not stress if you miss a class,
just make sure you have a friend in the class who can tell you exactly what you
missed so you’re prepared for the next one.”

Because of Dr. Smith, we were forced to alter a quote. Because of her, we were forced to
break one of the most sacred rules in journalism.

5. In my most recent editorial, I was ordered to change the following line: “You can waste your
time tanning at the beach while lunatics like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann dance
around the fire of democracy like Rumpelstiltskin on LSD.” Eventually, I removed the
sentence because Dr. Smith would oppose every edit Mrs. Finley suggested. The following
alternative words/suggestions were deemed inappropriate as well: “bozos”, “left-wing losers”

6. In the same editorial, Mrs. Finley told me that after prior review, the following line was deemed
inappropriate: “Teachers and students alike are persecuted for holding opinions or educating
others in ways that go against the norm.” Because we were on deadline and the paper had to be
sent to the printer the following morning (it was about 10 p.m. when we were told that this
sentence was a problem) I had no choice but to remove it.

7. The following infographic, which was featured in the Senior Section, was removed after prior
review. We were told by Mrs. Finley that Dr. Smith said that in light of “recent events” we could
not print this. We received no further explanation. Even though this is a fact and statistic, we were
not allowed to print it = CENSORSHIP. We were hoping that this infographic would raise
awareness about underage drinking in those students starting college in the fall. What is
especially ironic is that while we were allowed to include an entire centerfold on underage
drinking in our December issue, which was printed right after an alcohol incident at our school,
we could not include this for the reverse reasoning….


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