Underground newspaper prompts proposal of new publications policy

IDAHO — After a recent debate over the role of underground newspapersin the educational process, school officials in Coeur d’Alene are proposinga more First Amendment-friendly policy for their student journalists.

The discussion began last year when student editors of the undergroundpublication Institution-A-Lieschallengeda policy that gave school officials “control over student expression.”The new policy would expressly deny officials control over the contentof independent student publications, but would still permit them to limithow the publications are distributed.

Additionally, student editors could face consequences if officials deemtheir work “disruptive to the educational process” or “pervasively vulgar,harmful or defamatory.”

Chas Phillips, a 2000 graduate of the district’s Lake City High Schooland a former editor of Institution-A-Lies, told the Associated Presshe still worries that school officials could use the new policy to bardistribution of unofficial publications. Lake City principal John Brumley,though, has already agreed to allow this year’s editions to be distributedduring lunch.

The district’s trustees will vote on the new policy at their Oct. 23meeting.