Sex edition causes newspapers to be held from distribution at middle school

NEW HAMPSHIRE — A “sex” edition of the Winnacunnet High School student newspaper has been pulled from the district’s middle schools after it drew complaints from the high school principal and parents.

The February issue of the Winnachronicle featured a photo of two women kissing beneath the headline, “Why men love women who love women,” which included a true-false sex quiz with a question about anal sex and an interview with an anonymous custodian who said he found a vibrator in the girls’ shower.

The newspaper also featured news stories about contraceptives, statistics about sexual activity among high school students and how sex in the media influences teenagers.

Winnachronicle Editor in Chief Katie McCay said the newspaper staff intended to inform and enlighten with the sex issue, and expected to receive feedback about the subject.

“We thought it was an important topic to address,” McCay told The Telegraph. “Being in a high school, it’s something I’ve seen and something other kids have seen in the hallways.”

The newspaper was released in the high school, but Principal Randy Zito told The Telegraph he addressed the issue privately and pulled copies to be distributed to the district’s middle schools.

“I did not feel all articles were appropriate for the school newspaper, and I have addressed the issue,” he said.

Winnachronicle Adviser Carol Downer said the student journalists decided to focus the February edition around sex and wrote all of the articles.

“They didn’t go out to cause controversy, but the Winnachronicle is also not a PR piece for the high school,” Downer told The Telegraph. “This is a place for students to express their view and talk about issues that are troubling for the student body.”

The paper receives no prior review by administrators before being published, and no new review policies have been established since the February issue was published, Downer told The Telegraph.

In an editorial, Winnachronicle Managing Editor Lisa McManus wrote the stories were “edited and re-edited for content and delivery, keeping in mind that the job here is to inform, not shock.”

“It is something parents hope their children remain ignorant about until after marriage,” the editorial said, according to The Telegraph. “It is something faculty members and administrators hope not to deal with, but something that is almost all students have experienced or been exposed to.”

Parent Paula Wood told The Telegraph that she wants to talk about the newspaper’s content at the next school board meeting scheduled to be held Wednesday evening. She said that Zito told her discussions about the newspaper would be private, as it may involve discussing personnel.

“I don’t want to discuss personnel,” she said. “I want to discuss the paper. I thought it was a vile, disgusting piece of pornography I wouldn’t want to be in front of children, let alone paid for by taxpayers.”

By Jared Taylor, SPLC staff writer