Magazine adviser restored to position after being fired over sexual poem

WASHINGTON – A magazine adviser is back at his post this school year after he was asked to resign last year when the publication he oversaw printed a poem about a sexual experience.

Administrators at Shorewood High School reinstated Steve Kelly for the 2005-06 academic year as adviser of Imprints, the school’s literary magazine. Kelly has taught English for the school district, located in Shoreline, Wash., for 36 years.

Kelly was asked to resign in June after 17-year-old student Zoya Raskina published a poem titled “My first fuck” in the 2004-05 edition of the magazine in which the narrator describes being pressured into a first sexual experience.

After a grievance hearing on Aug. 8, district officials withdrew a proposed letter of reprimand and restored Kelly as adviser, according to Donna Lurie of the Washington Education Association, the state’s teachers union.

The two parties agreed to construct publication protocols to replace the verbal procedures followed last year. Advisers and principals for Shorewood High School and neighboring Shorecrest High School, representatives from the Shoreline School District and delegates from the Washington Education Association and Journalism in Education will meet at a date to be determined to draft these protocols, Lurie said in an e-mail.

After the proposed guidelines are drafted, student editors at both schools will have a chance to voice their opinions prior to the instatement of the policy, she said.

Shorewood School District Associate Superintendent Linda Johnson would not confirm Kelly’s reinstatement or the meetings regarding a new publishing policy.

“Unfortunately, we are not free to comment on personnel matters,” Johnson said.

Kelly did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Raskina’s poem was published unaltered in the first printing of 300 copies, according to an article by the The Seattle Times. Upon hearing complaints from parents, the district pulled unsold copies from the high school. The publication was reprinted without the poem and distributed by school officials.

by Kyle McCarthy

The following is a copy of Raskina’s poem that was printed in the Seattle Times:sure he claims he loves meand holds me oh so tighthe makes me believe this is specialthat he can hold on all nighthe claims he isn’t pressuring mebut his hand is down my pantstemptation rises and I give inhe turns overchecks the timegets up and drives me homeno kiss goodnightno I love youand no telephone call