The prinicipal at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill has removed the adviser to the student newspaper after it published controversial stories about student discipline, broken computers, teacher salaries and an ineffective job shadow program, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Adviser Andrew Nolan will remain on the school’s staff as a teacher, but will only instruct English classes next year. Nolan worked as a staff writer on the UC Dvis student newspaper for three years and had hoped, when he landed the adviser job, that he could help the students take on more challenging stories than coverage of the prom.
While some stories were challenging at other times the paper made mistakes Nolan admitted were dumb, like running a staged picture of a fight between students.
Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, said, “Some of those stories will be good stories, in the sense that they will contain accurate news and information about something important, though embarrassing … And some of those stories will be dumb and wrong and highly offensive to certain people. But the first amendment requires that students be free to publish both the dumb stories with the good ones.”
Teachers were disturbed by the principal’s action. “I just think it’s sending the wrong message,” English teacher Joel Swett told the Coco Times. “It’s discouraging us from doing our job.”