Two students from EverettHigh School in Washington state and Principal David Clark of Columbus North HighSchool in Indiana received the 2006 Courage in Student Journalism Awardpresented by the Newseum, the Student Press Law Center and the NationalScholastic Press Association.
The Courage in Student JournalismAward is presented each year to high school student journalists and to a schooladministrator or adviser who have demonstrated exceptional determination andsupport for student press freedom, despite resistance or difficultcircumstances.
Students Claire Lueneburg and Sara Eccleston, formerco-editors of Everett’s school newspaper the Kodak, will share the$5,000 student prize. Clark received a $5,000 award in the adviser category.Lueneburg, Eccleston and Clark accepted the awards at the National ScholasticPress Association/Journalism Education Association Fall Convention in Nashville,Tenn., on Nov. 11.
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SPLCView: Congratulations to Claire and Sara. Their commitment and belief in afree student press and principled objection to administrative prior review of astudent publication that had operated free from censorship for many years hasbeen an inspiration to students both in Washington State and elsewhere. In fact,it was, in part, their case that prompted another Washington student and a statelegislator to draft a new comprehensive state student free expression bill thatmay soon be introduced. Kudos also to Mr. Clark for appreciating the importanceof student journalists coverage of the controversial topic of oral sex.Unfortunately, it has become the norm among high school administrators that afear of negative publicity or angry community members trumps free pressconcerns. Mr. Clark’s actions in standing up for his school’s student newspaperdemonstrate that there is an alternative that leaves student journalists andcommunity members alike with an important and much-needed lesson on theimportance of discussing difficult issues.