Adviser receives $20,000 settlement

\nWASHINGTON – A battle may have been won for the First Amendment,\nbut not without casualties as a Stanwood High School English teacher\nreceived a $20,000 settlement after she was let go from her newspaper\nadvising position.

Val Schroeder sued the Stanwood School District after it took\naway her $15,000 a year advising position in 1996. The school\nalso threatened to have Schroeder’s teaching license withdrawn.

The school board was unhappy when a student-written article about\nbestiality ran in the student newspaper. The school later dropped\nthe threat to her teaching credentials, but the complaint still\nappears on her record.

Schroeder’s lawsuit was settled out of court.

“I consider the settlement of Val Schroeder’s lawsuit to\nbe a victory for free speech,” said Fern Valentine, a member\nof the Journalism Education Association in Washington who has\nbeen following the case closely.

However, she also adds that the students lost a good adviser as\nwell as a newspaper, which has deteriorated into a newsletter\nsince Schroeder’s removal.

“The district lost a great learning situation for the students,\nand punished the teacher for just doing what the state curriculum\ntold her she must do,” said Valentine.