Principal cuts out-of-school circulation

VIRGINIA ‘ The principal at Middlesex High School has halted the insertion of the high school newspaper into a local daily, drastically cutting circulation and leaving students to question his reasoning.

Principal David Bridges said the Big Blue Review should not be considered a public forum for the whole community because it is a learning tool for students. Bridges sought support from the Middlesex County School Board last August to eliminate distribution in the Southside Sentinel, and the board upheld his decision on Oct. 22.

Last year, former Principal Rebecca Gates censored the paper twice because she said she considered two articles focusing on sex education and newspaper censorship too controversial for an audience beyond the school.

Students have expressed concerns that the circulation cut could cause a drop in advertising, which would make the Big Blue Review less self-sufficient, said editor Palmer Curdts. The staff covers almost all of its annual costs of around $10,000 by selling advertising to local businesses.

‘We give the community a much deeper look at what’s going on at the high school, and we feel that’s a valuable service,’ said Curdts. ‘We really don’t understand what the school board’s objection to that is.’