A presidential endorsement from a student newspaper has caused uproar in Monument, north of Colorado Springs. At Thursday night’s school board meeting, the student editor defended the move.
The Bear Truth newspaper endorsed Hillary Clinton for president – and student journalists were deluged with angry comments from some residents in the Republican-leaning community. Some parents said the editorial was inappropriate for a student publication and called for suspending the newspaper’s staff.
Evan Ochsner, a Palmer Ridge High senior and the paper’s co-editor-in-chief, explained to the board that Colorado law protects student journalists.
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock,” Ochsner said, quoting Thomas Jefferson. “Today we find ourselves concerned with a matter of principle – a principle that is fundamental to the health of a free society and the freedom of its people.”
Ochhsner thanked teachers, the school board, school district and other parents for supporting the student’s right to publish an editorial opinion. No one else from the community spoke on the matter.
Under district policy and Colorado law, student journalists have the right to publish anything that is not obscene, defamatory, libelous or slanderous. Nor can an article encourage unlawful acts or violate school rules.