School won’t publish student editorial about atheism

Andrew Beaujon for Poynter:

Krystal Myers’ editorial for the Lenoir City High School student newspaper about how atheists like her don’t have the same rights as Christians met a somewhat ironic fate: It was not published. School officials feared “the potential for disruption in the school.”

  • Peter Cohen

    Wouldn’t want the Taliban bombing the place.

    • Starflyer

      How many articles have been published about Christianity?

    • I might have lost count, but the number of attacks on atheist institutions by Taliban crapheads is, what, zero?

      Isn’t the most disturbing truth about the Taliban et al, how similar they are to our own religious fundamentalists? If these people had their way, minorities in the US and other parts of the Western world would find themselves in danger rather soon. It does not matter if somebody is swinging a bible, a quran or a torah… all they want is tell you how you can live, women to be slaves and thinking to be forbidden. It is a shameful attestation to human development, that the “old testament” – a book of hate – is still ruling the majority of lives on this planet.

      The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death. [Gore Vidal]

  • Gonji

    Oh ,the irony. Freedom of expression loses again.

    • lucascott

      Freedom of expression etc is about the government restricting rights. Not businesses or schools. 

      • Joe

        This would appear to be a public school doing the censoring, which means it IS the government…

  • Everybody is offended by somebody. We try to avoid offense. We all lose.  Go read “Ado” by Connie Willis for a laugh/cry on this topic.

  • I’m sure the news of them not publishing it caused no disruption after making national headlines…

  • The reason this won’t go anywhere is that the Supreme Court ruled in the 80s on this subject, based on a case at a high school in St. Louis. They said students don’t have free speech in school publications. The faculty/administration are the publishers and they decide what’s published.

    I think it’s a mistake to teach kids phobia towards any idea (outside of kiddie and snuff porn – well, also no exhibition of more pedestrian porn of course, but yes to discussing it). The best way to deal with bad ideas is to give them full expression in the light of day. That’s what free speech is about. But school administrators need to get a grip and lead the discussion, not tilt it one way or the other.

  • MacsenMcBain

    A difficult call for the school.  While not publishing will probably lead to a civil rights lawsuit, publishing would’ve probably led to bullying, or perceived bullying (who knows how low the standard is these days) of the atheist student by other teenagers, and thus a negligence suit against the school for failing to protect her. The better choice would probably have been to publish, so there would at least be a few codefendant bullies to point to as the primary tortfeasors…

  • Steven Fisher

    I cared about this yesterday. But after a night of sleep, I wonder so what. As with most “censorship” by non-government institutions, nobody’s stopping the student from saying or writing what they want. They’re just not publishing it for them. For all we know, it’s shitty writing and the content is her excuse.