Editor of Ind. student paper asks school officials to return confiscated issues

INDIANA — The editor-in-chief of Lake Central High School’s studentnewspaper, The Scout, said he felt intimidated when he addressed theschool board Monday night to ask that school officials be forced to return thepapers they confiscated from newsstands last week.

Michael Majchrowicz, The Scout‘s editor-in-chief spoke at themeeting with about 100 guests in support, and requested the papers be returnedno later than Tuesday, Feb. 16. That deadline passed with the papers still underadministrative lock and key.

“Basically, the board went into that meeting with their minds already madeup. They’re not doing anything about the paper, it’s not going back out on thestands as of now. It’s at a standstill.” Majchrowicz said.

An editorial endorsing the resignation of Lake Central High School’sfootball coach, Bill Melby, prompted administrators to remove the remainingissues of The Scout from the stands last week. The editorial said that achange was needed to the football program after its past three season losses,and praised the administration’s efforts to make changes.

Majchrowicz wrote the editorial and said Principal Sandie Platt approvedthe paper after it was submitted to her for prior review.

“The editorial was literally unmarked,” Majchrowicz said.

Superintendent Larry Veracco said some students complained to the highschool assistant principals about the editorial, which led Assistant PrincipalDoug McCallister to remove the paper from the stands.

The papers were removed, however Veracco became involved after receivingtwo phone calls from parents.

One of the phone calls Veracco received was from the mother of TheScout‘s sports editor, he said. The newspaper staffer–who is also themanager of the football team–had been receiving phone calls to her home inregards to the article. Veracco said during a vote within the editorial staff asto whether or not to run the editorial, the sports editor voted againstpublication.

“What it turns out to be at this point is that it appears that somestudents are being pestered, bothered, harassed, whatever term you want to use,about the article,” Veracco said.

Majchrowicz said the administration offered an alternative to the issuebeing returned to the stands.

After being told last week he could run a blank space or make revisions tothe editorial before it was reissued he said he felt the only solution would beto have the newspapers returned.

“We are a paper under prior review, everything was approved, and then itwas forcibly removed from the stands. My whole objective here is just to get theword out and get the papers back on the stands,” Majchrowicz said.

Veracco said he believes the mission of the school’s newspaper should notbe to create controversy.

“I think the school paper should try to do things that unite students andbring the school together, and promote what the school purpose is.” Veraccosaid.

The administration plans on reviewing its prior review process for thefuture, Veracco said.

Majchrowicz said The Scout plans to have another editorial in thisweek’s issue about censorship.