Newspaper Responsibility

Newspaper Responsibility

Mia Paulson, Staff Writer/Editor

Regis Jesuit High School – two advisors of their school newspaper, called Elevate, have been fired for going against Catholic teaching in their December publication. No students have been reprimanded, but the magazine has been completely disbanded.

Our voice is very important. We need to use it carefully and concisely. Our beliefs make us who we are. Now, that applies to both the institution we represent and ourselves. If these two ideas do not go together, that is not always a bad thing. However, what you say, especially publicly, can be connected back to your institution.

Abortion is an incredibly controversial topic. Regis Jesuit, being unapologetically Catholic, is Pro Life. The article written, however, was Pro Choice, headlined “Battle for Out Bodies” (yes, yes. It does say “out”. Not “our”, like it should be. Out.) Each article that is printed by the school represents its staff, student body, and beliefs. Directly going against these beliefs is obviously not the best route to take. Hazelwood V. Kuhlmeier: Censorship in School Newspapers (Landmark Supreme Court Cases): 9780894909719: Fuller, Sarah Betsy: BooksSuch an instance has been brought to court in the past, bringing in the First Amendment’s right of freedom of speech. Students at Hazelwood East High School in Missouri in 1988 published in their school newspaper articles about teen pregnancy and divorce. The principal deleted the articles without telling the students, and they brought it to court as a violation of their First Amendment right. In the Supreme Court Case, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, the ruling was 5-3 that such actions did not violate the students’ rights. The court claimed: “the paper was sponsored by the school and, as such, the school had a legitimate interest in preventing the publication of articles that it deemed inappropriate and that might appear to have the imprimatur of the school.”

I am well aware that many non-Catholics attend Catholic school. Still, their actions and words, especially in a school newspaper, can be tied back to their school. A Catholic identity is one that Holy Family also holds with great pride. We strive to embody the works of the Catholic Church in our every day life, inside and outside the classroom. Being in such a school myself, I can understand why the publication of an article going directly against what the school stands for would have consequences.

I am not saying that everyone should follow what they are told blindly. Everyone should question the facts, dive deeper, and develop their own opinions. However, when it comes to such a controversy as abortion, it does not really make sense to have your beliefs advertised as the complete opposite of who you represent.

Newspapers in every setting have a great power: the power of a voice to share the news with the people. With great power comes great responsibility. Here at the LampPost, we give our opinions in light with the news. However, our Catholic identity is important to us, and present in every article we write. And we strive to never falter in upholding this responsibility.