Danbury High School editor files complaint with principal

TEXAS — The editor of the Danbury High School student newspaper has filed a formal complaint with the principal after he refused to distribute a December issue featuring sexually themed stories on its front page.

The newspaper published articles covering teenage sexuality, students with children and sexually transmitted diseases, but distribution was stopped by Principal Christopher Kocurek, who said the topics were not age-appropriate for high school students.

Editor in Chief Kennon McKinney filed the complaint with Kocurek last week, according to the Brazosport Facts, a newspaper in Clute, Texas.

The Danbury Independent School District Board Policy Manual allows administrators to exercise control “over style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” In this case, Kocurek said the content was “inappropriate for the level of maturity of the readers.”

Superintendent Eric Grimmett said the issue was restricted because of its content, but also because school policy requires prior review of student publications by the principal, according to the Facts. The policy manual does not mention mandatory prior review of content.

The newspaper’s adviser, Kristi Piper, also said she has never had to submit articles for prior review in the past.

Kocurek has 10 days from the date the letter was submitted to schedule a conference with McKinney, and another 10 to give a formal response. Should the students disagree with his response, they plan to take the next step and appeal the complaint to the superintendent, with a final option to appeal to the school board, according to the Facts.

By Erica Hudock, SPLC staff writer

  • High school principal halts distribution of newspaper News Flash, 1/21/2007