Underground editors publishing parody again

KANSAS — School officials and two Lawrence High Schoolseniors with a bent for satire reached a compromise that willallow the boys to keep publishing their underground newspaper– but only with their principal reviewing it first.Co-editors Lee Dunfield and Brad Quellhorst said they could livewith the deal, which requires them to submit proposed editionsof Low Budget to principal Mike Patterson for approval.Additionally, they must restrict circulation to after-school hours.The compromise came after a swarm of public and media attentionand a series of meetings involving the students, their parentsand school officials.

The boys distributed edition No. 2 of Low Budgetto theirschoolmates Sept. 14, two weeks after their debut issue drew aban from Patterson, who called the honor students’ work "disruptiveto school." The paper is intended as a parody of the school’sofficial student newspaper, The Budget.

Patterson said he imposed the ban only because Low Budgetwasnot approved, denying that content played any role in his decision.He later told its authors they should submit their work to theschool’s official student newspaper.

Patterson said the new policy should not be interpreted asan effort to censor or squelch free expression, though he didcut two articles from the proposed second edition. The studenteditors complied with Patterson’s judgment.

"We chose not to fight that particular decision,"Quellhorst said. "We came up with new, better material. Ifany censorship that we truly disagree with occurs, we will likelytake the paper off campus."

Both young journalists said neither they nor their parentsconsidered legal action a viable alternative in the dispute.

Courts with jurisdiction over Kansas have never approved therights of public school officials to review underground publicationsbefore distribution.

Low Budgetis available online at http://www.lowbudget.20m.com.