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Opening Arguments

Oral report

Got an e-mail from Kenn Gividen, the Libertarian who has taken some grief from the Indiana blogosphere for his opposition to the oral-sex article in the Columbus North High School student newspaper:

Conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly plans to interview Indiana resident Billie Whitted on his No Spin Zone today.

At issue is a controversial article published in Columbus' North High School newspaper. The article, which featured explicit discussion about oral sex, angered some area residents. Whitted is a member of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation school board and will share her insights on the devisive article with O'Reilly and the rest of the nation.

In addition to Whitted, O'Reilly plans to interview other Columbus area residents. The No Spin Zone will be broadcast in Indiana at 8:00 pm on Fox News Network.

Also, here's a report on the reaction to the story from the Student Press Law Center. And here's an approving editorial from the Indiana Statesman of Indiana State Univeristy.

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:27am

I fear to think what O'Reilly will do to this story.

Leo Morris
Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:43am

Yeah. Not much insight into the issue, I suspect.

Steve Towsley
Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:23am

The debate about what student newspapers are for probably will go on forever. Some people clearly believe this particular school activity is for allowing students to get experience with the nuts and bolts of putting out a paper. Period.

Other people, usually the students, always claim the school paper is their First Amendment vehicle exactly as it would be outside the school.

I tend to side with the former group, because there are many other arts & crafts in schools -- band, concert choir, the debate team, masque & gavel society. Yet the choir doesn't expect to sing bawdy saloon songs, the band doesn't play them, the debate team doesn't argue the merits of sexual behaviors, and the actors in the school play don't expect to be allowed to do X-rated plays.

The school's journalists can learn the practical nuts and bolts of reporting and publishing in high school without covering controversial "adult" subjects that a portion of parents disapprove (remember, this is a school, not the open air).

Perhaps this will be Columbus North's lesson on the boundaries placed on journalists by community standards. But even that premature lesson is not sufficient reason for adult material to be overlooked at the high school level.