Greensburg Salem newspaper editor alleges censorship
The editor in chief of the Greensburg Salem student newspaper cried censorship Wednesday during a school board meeting.
Christina Holtzer complained to school directors last night about a review of a Greensburg restaurant being yanked from “The Lions’ Den.”
Holtzer said administrators pulled the article both because of its tone and that a tax-paying business in the school district was involved.
She said the newspaper should be a forum for students to express themselves. If they can’t, she asked, what is the “purpose of having a paper?”
President Trudy Ivory replied that school directors joined administrators in believing the article was inappropriate.
“I think it’s a learning experience. … I don’t think it’s censorship,” Director Frank Gazze told Holtzer.
Director Ron Mellinger said the review basically called “the place awful.”
Superintendent Tom Yarabinetz told Holtzer that administrators weren’t trying to censure but must consider certain criteria, guidelines and legal issues.
After the meeting, Yarabinetz said administrators, the school board and the solicitor all found the article to be inappropriate.
In a prepared statement, the district said:
“The school newspaper is a limited forum for student thought and dialogue. As publisher of the student newspaper, the district has an obligation to insure that the content of the student newspaper serves the best interest of the school and community. Publication of this opinion piece would not serve these interests. It is the opinion of the board and administration that publishing this article is not appropriate for a school newspaper and could result in legal liability for the district.”
The statement called the article a “harsh criticism of a local business.”
In other business, in a 7-1 vote, directors approved “Sweet Charity” as the 2011 high school musical.
Director Angela DeMarino-Tooch, who last week said she found some material in the musical objectionable, voted no. Director Nat Pantalone didn’t attend.
Directors accepted as a gift from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art the 42 presidential prints and photographs at the one-room schoolhouse outside Amos K. Hutchinson Elementary School.