Freedom Folks

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mexitude, Indiana Style

From Student Press Law Center (H/T: Immigration Watchdog):

When LeAnne Manuel wrote an unsigned editorial for her high school paper on the immigration debate, she was hoping it would spark a discussion among students.

“I feel extremely passionate about illegal immigration,” said Manuel, a rising senior at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. “I mean, it just makes my blood boil.”

But when Manuel’s anti-illegal immigration editorial ran in the student newspaper on April 28, administrators confiscated the paper, and the discussion quickly turned to how the piece ever made it in the paper in the first place.
Read Manuel’s piece -- Migrant slack-off day also known as May 1 -- here.

Say it with me, folks: MEX – I – TUDE.

The Friday the paper came out, Ben Davis Principal Joel McKinney was at a meeting on the east side of Indianapolis. But when he got wind of the editorial, he said he left the meeting and returned to campus immediately.“

Many students were upset, voiced being angry at the tone of the editorial,” McKinney said. “There were rumors going around that the school doesn’t care for [Hispanics] because they allowed” the editorial to be printed in the student paper.
So how did the principal respond? Well, involving the whole student body would have been leadership. Alas, McKinney chose pandering over leadership:

A meeting was held with Hispanic students in the auditorium the day the paper came out about the “proper way to respond” to the editorial, said Tom Langdoc, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, of which Ben Davis High School is a part.
Yep, there’s nothing like a special meeting just for Hispanic students, while the newspaper staff and Manuel got this:

“From what people told us, after it was distributed, people were upset, a lot of people were talking about it,” said Brent Fowler, a photo editor for the paper. “When we got back to school they told us to get our stuff and leave because the administration was upset.

-X- SNIP –X-

Manuel, the editorial writer, said school officials told her to stay home the Monday and Tuesday following the day the editorial was printed “because of safety concerns.”
Haveing experienced it firsthand myself, there’s nothing quite like having your First Amendment rights trampled in the name of “safety concerns.”

As a result of the immigration editorial, Fowler, the student photo editor, said administrators made the paper change a statement in its masthead. The paper previously printed in the masthead that it was an open forum for student expression, but administrators made the paper change it to read in part, “The Spotlight represents and exemplifies Ben Davis High School and is not a public or open forum.”

-X- SNIP –X-

But the principal said he is not trying to censor the paper.“I don’t want to change the paper,” McKinney said.

Ummmmmmm…Mr. McKinney? Since when does changing the stated purpose of the newspaper from “an open forum for student expression” to “not a public or open forum” not constitute changing the paper?

This type of knee-jerk reaction that comes down on the side of Mexitude is happening much too frequently for my taste. It elicits a knee-jerk reaction of my own…

OK, Blogger is @#$&ing me off. Imagine a picture of Edvard Munch's The Scream here, willya, until I can get @#$&! Blogger to upload?

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