High school newspaper pulled because of allegedly racist editorial

CALIFORNIA — An issue of a high school newspaper that allegedly included an anonymous editorial containing racially insensitive remarks was confiscated by a school administrator last week.

In a statement posted on the Carson High School Web site, Principal Kenneth Keener said the school, the editor in chief and the adviser of the Trailblazer, the monthly student newspaper, are working to “reach a solution” after the article was published and administrators pulled the issue.

Trailblazer adviser Gregory Vieira said he does not normally review every student article before publication.

“The journalism adviser has apologized to the students and staff for the oversight,” Keener said in the statement. “I assure you that appropriate steps will be taken so that this does not happen again.”

While administrators said they considered remarks made in the article offensive and inappropriate, California is one of six states with a law ensuring student free expression rights. The law does not allow administrators to limit student expression because it is deemed offensive.

The Nov. 21 editorial, titled “Looks like the circus is in town,” described the unnamed author’s frustrations with the apparent chaos at a local Taco Bell restaurant. The author said the crowd in the restaurant was predominantly black and referred to them as “a pack of monkeys.”

Vieira said he immediately went to the principal after discovering the article in the November print edition.

“I was horrified,” Vieira said. “It was a terrible article with all kinds of stuff we don’t usually have in our paper — cursing, racist language, saying black people act like monkeys.”

Vieira said the student who wrote the editorial had been on staff the longest, and he trusted her enough to not “look at” her work before publication.

Vieira also said student editors did not properly review the article.

“I wish somebody had just pointed it out to me,” he said. “It’s sort of my fault anyways because I’m not really supposed to trust [the staff] without looking at [the articles].”

School officials said they are not releasing the name of the author and Keener refused to comment on any possible punishment.