Controversy Surrounds FDL HS Newspaper Article - WBAY

Controversy Surrounds FDL HS Newspaper Article

Updated: March 11, 2014 06:19 PM
Fond du Lac -

Some Fond du Lac High School journalism students are fighting back after they say the district is trying to censor what goes in the school newspaper. The students have started a petition after the district lays out new guidelines for what it deems is acceptable to print.

CLICK here to see the article in question.

The latest edition of Cardinal Columns, a Fond du Lac High School student produced newspaper. After its publication, which included a cover story about sexual assault and the culture surrounding rape, the school district decided it needed to implement new guidelines for what is printed in the school newspaper.

Austin Klewicki is a senior at Fond du Lac High School and he's on the newspaper staff. He says, "The whole article, it came out to help people and now we're being told it shouldn't go. I think that's a little ridiculous, especially when we had worse stories in the past in issues that we were told were good. So I think it's surprising that this has been blown out of proportion and it should be returned back to where it was where we had the freedom to choose what we wanted to write."

Journalism students who work on the paper say the new guidelines, which give the high school principal and ultimately the district superintendent final say on what gets published, is a form of censorship.

Fond du Lac senior and editor-in-chief of Cardinal Columns, Tanvi Kumar says, "It's almost a violation of our first amendment rights. I know we are sponsored by the school, but we identify ourselves as a public forum which means we open to the general use and the public."

District officials disagree, citing case law as well as previous school policy which says specific guidelines needed to be laid out. And that's what the high school principal says the new rules are doing.

According to Principal Jon Wiltzius, "The newspaper, Cardinal Columns, is a publication of Fond du Lac High School so there is the ability for the principal or the advisor or the superintendent to oversee any of these publications."

While the guidelines are in place and will be followed, the principal hopes to work with the students on future projects.

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