Students hire lawyer to keep newspaper

\nCONNECTICUT – After their adviser quit over a coded message\nthey slipped into the school newspaper, two high school students\nhave hired a lawyer to force the school to find a new adviser\nbefore the beginning of the school year.

Brendan Sullivan and Ben Popik were set to be the editors in\nchief of Simsbury High School’s student newspaper, The Forum,\nnext year. But after they slipped a message about the school’s\nhead football coach into a review of a popular brand of soda,\ntheir adviser quit, and administrators pulled the plug on the\nlast issue of the newspaper. The students published an underground\nnewspaper on their own instead.

Sullivan said administrators told him that he and Popik have\nnot been removed as editors, but that the newspaper cannot be\npublished without an adviser.

Simsbury school officials did not return telephone calls to\ntheir offices.

Sullivan said he put the message in the paper after school\nofficials told him he could not write about allegations that coach\nJoe Grace struck players during a game. School officials eventually\nreprimanded Grace for hitting a player.

The message was inserted into a review of different flavors\nof soda. In place of the labels on pictures of four soda bottles\nwere photos of Grace, a stop sign, a fist and a group of students.\n

Sullivan said he and Popik hired a lawyer to make sure the\nnewspaper is published next year.

But Sullivan said that if the administration has not hired\na new adviser by the fall, he will still make sure a newspaper\nis distributed on the first day of school.

“We promised to have an issue out on the first day of\nschool, and if the school doesn’t pay for it, we will,” he\nsaid.\n