Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bill protecting journalism teachers advances

A state Senate committee has approved a bill that would protect high school and college journalism teachers from administrators upset by students' stories or editorials, the AP and Chron report.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said he introduced the bill, SB1370, because of cases like that of Teri Hu, who said she was removed as adviser for the Voice newspaper at Irvington High in Fremont in 2004 after the student paper printed two articles that angered school administrators. The Chron said one of those articles questioned the school's compliance with district policy on teaching assistants, and the other reported on a teacher who allegedly told a student to "go back where you came from." The school's principal, Pete Murchison, denied he retaliated against her.

Another teacher, Katharine Swan, who retired in 2006 after 35 years in San Francisco schools, said she had encountered several instances of attempted censorship, according to the Chron. At one point, she said, Mission High School Principal Ted Alfaro claimed the authority to review all newspaper articles before publication. Alfaro said at the time that he supported the students and was just trying to encourage them to write positive stories.

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