Principal threatens underground editors

KANSAS — School officials and two Lawrence High School seniorswith a bent for satire reached a compromise that will allow the boys tokeep publishing their underground newspaper — but only with their principalreviewing it first.

Co-editors Lee Dunfield and Brad Quellhorst said they could live withthe September deal, which requires them to submit proposed editions ofLowBudget to principal Mike Patterson for approval. Additionally, theymust restrict circulation to after-school hours.

“Many have expressed their objection to our agreement, [but] I thinkit is fair for him to do this,” Dunfield said.

Quellhorst took stronger exception to the deal but accepted it nonetheless.

“By the very nature of the word, a compromise isn’t going to completelysatisfy everyone,” he said. “I’m not happy about having to wait until afterschool, and I certainly don’t agree with the prior review concept.

“Prior review should not be a requirement for us as an underground paper.”

The boys have now distributed three more issues of Low Budgetto their schoolmates since the debut edition drew a ban from Patterson,who called the honor students’ work “disruptive to school.” The paper isintended as a parody of the school’s official student newspaper, TheBudget.

Since the agreement, both students say their work has gone off withoutany major problems. The only negative feedback, they said, is from thestudent editors of The Budget.

The compromise came after a swarm of public and media attention anda series of meetings involving the students, their parents and school officials.Officially, there was no disciplinary action taken against the students,though their parents “voluntarily” took them out of school for a few days.

“Officially, our parents ‘chose’ to remove us from school,” Quellhorstsaid. “In reality, if they chose not to, we would have been suspended.

“In essence, our parents had no say in the matter.”

Patterson did not return numerous phone calls made by the Report.

Patterson told the Associated Press, however, he imposed the ban onlybecause Low Budget was not approved, denying that content playedany role in his decision. He later told its authors they should submittheir work to the school’s official student newspaper.

Patterson said the new policy should not be interpreted as an effortto censor or squelch free expression, though he did cut two articles fromthe proposed second edition. The student editors complied with Patterson

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