April 28, 2010 11:17 AM Subscribe
Dexter High School's student newspaper causes parental squall.
An anonymous parents group called Clean Up DHS
wants to quash student free speech because of an article in a recent issue of the student-run The Squall.
The article in question (p. 4, February 2010)
is about a local teens-only club. Where's the rub?
Well, the rub is that most of the complaints raised by the parents group date back to issues published in 2008, and the battle dates back to the 2000 year presidential election cycle for the paper's faculty advisor and the school board's policy advisor, a for-profit consulting group, NEOLA
(warning: Front Page circa 1997), that sells boiler-plate policy manuals for school districts, and has taken aim at school newspapers apparently as a method to gain interest at school board meetings. (In a 2006 article
on the Student Press Law Center's details the problems then facing Dexter's Rod Satterthwaite:
Lake Shore’s decision to pull its student newspaper’s open forum editorial policy has Rod Satterthwaite of Dexter, Mich., nervously counting his blessings.
Satterthwaite advises The Squall, the student newspaper at Dexter High School, a paper that, like The Shoreline, has been a practicing public forum for four or five years despite its more restrictive district policy. Dexter Community Schools is another NEOLA client, and its student publications policy employs many of the same template options as Lake Shore.
Despite facing an unsupportive assistant principal and superintendent a few years ago, the paper has managed to avoid many of the restrictions of the NEOLA policy.
Satterthwaite said he has drafted a proposal of the kind of policy he would like to replace the NEOLA one. But due to a high rate of principal turnover over the past few years, he has not been able to build the support he says he needs to take the policy to the school board.
“We want principal backing,” he said.
So, should the anonymous parents' group or NEOLA force The Squall to "clean up"? What do the locals think? A poll on the AnnArbor.com website shows that 70% of 999 votes say: The Kids are All Right!