Officials remove student from newspaper post

GEORGIA -- Kennesaw State University administrators forced the editor of the student newspaper to resign in April after she refused to name a confidential source who she claims helped her investigate a story.

Becca Garber, editor of The Sentinel, said school officials' decision to remove her from her position and bar her from holding any leadership position on campus during the fall 2001 semester was unfair.

The punishment came after Garber approached the assistant faculty adviser to the African-American Student Alliance and informed her that an investigation found that the organization's newly named president and vice president did not meet the group's minimum GPA requirement for leadership positions.

The group's faculty adviser, fearing the release of the information to Garber was a violation of the two students' privacy rights, brought the matter to university administrators, who called Garber in for questioning.

Administrators said they decided to punish Garber after meeting with her and determining that she violated a section of the code of conduct designed to protect students' privacy.

Schools extend reach to punish students for off-campus speech made on Internet

Continuing a trend of attempting to punish students for speech on the Internet, two New York high school students were arrested in May for harassment in connection with their off-campus Web site.

Prosecutors later decided not to prosecute the students, but police are refusing to return a disk containing the last remaining copy of the site to the students' attorney.

Police declined to release the names of the two 18-year-old males, citing their ages.

Principal upset by article tries to prevent reporter from participating in graduation

VIRGINIA -- Principal Pamela Latt did not want to talk to Nicole\nShort. After all, the Centreville High School senior had already\npublished several other articles that did not reflect well on\nthe school or Latt.

This time, Short was investigating why the suburban Washington,\nD.C., school had the highest teacher turnover rates in the county,\nrates that many attributed to Latt's administration.

Newspaper breezes past funding scare

VIRGINIA -- The administration at James Madison University decided June 8 not to cut funding to the student newspaper, despite the urging of one member of the school's board of visitors.

At a March 23 board of visitors meeting, board member Charles Cunningham asked the administration to prepare a report detailing the funding and operation of The Breeze, James Madison's student newspaper.

New school district Internet policies give rise to nameless, faceless Web

Fearing wide access to personal information about their students on the Internet, some school systems are shutting down the Web sites for even the most innocuous school newspapers, saying they reveal too much to pedophiles around the world.

A school board in Massachusetts adopted a policy forbidding the school district's Web sites to reveal any information about its students, including names and pictures, without the written consent of their parents.

Board reprimands editor for endorsements

SOUTH CAROLINA -- The board of publications at the University of South Carolina at Columbia reprimanded the student newspaper editor in April after he stood behind the paper's decision to endorse candidates for student government positions.

The board, which derives its power from the university's board of trustees, found Brock Vergakis, editor of The Gamecock, guilty of 'harassment' and 'entering into student partisan politics.'

Vergakis was asked to issue a formal apology and to make the student body aware of his reprimand.

Tension between the editor and the board was sparked by complaints that student government officials filed against Vergakis because they were upset by the newspaper's publication of candidate endorsements and an editorial slamming the student election process.

During student elections in February, The Gamecock hosted an independent debate for student government candidates, after which members of the paper's staff voted to endorse certain candidates.

Filtering fervor fails to trickle down to states

State efforts to mandate filters on school and library Internet access have failed to win support from lawmakers this year, with at least seven state legislatures rejecting such laws.

The action comes as libraries and First Amendment groups challenge a federal law that would cut federal funding for schools and libraries that do not use Internet filters.

Most of the state proposals have stalled at the committee level and have failed to gain widespread support.

School board disavows sex story

VIRGINIA -- The Danville School Board stopped short of censoring\nan article in a high school newspaper about the dangers of oral\nsex, instead inserting a letter into the issue saying it did not\nsupport the way the students covered the story.

The board also made editors change the names of students quoted\nin several stories, but it backed down from its threat to change\nthe content of the stories.

The April 9 edition of the Chatterbox, the student newsmagazine\nat George Washington High School, was distributed a month after\nits original publication date with a letter from the school board\nstating that it did not "agree with the manner in which the\nsubject matter of this issue has been presented."

The Chatterbox has a long history of covering controversial\ntopics and had recently raised the ire of school officials for\nhighlighting dilapidated school facilities, according to Chatterbox\nadviser Marie Harris.

Harris said the school board's assertion that it only disagreed\nwith the article's wording and not the subject was just a cover\nto shield bad publicity.

"Behind the scenes, they just didn't like all these stories\nbecause they wanted nothing out there that said kids have any\nproblems that the school board couldn't eliminate," she said.

The board ordered students to change the names of several students\nquoted in a story about interracial dating, saying hate groups\nwould harass students who were identified in the article.

Officials turn up heat on culinary students

MARYLAND -- Five students at a small, private culinary school in Baltimore recently found themselves in hot water with school administrators after they published an editorial criticizing one of the school's recruitment fliers in the student newsletter.

The flier -- aimed at attracting students to summer classes at Baltimore International College -- features a bikini-clad woman holding a plate of piping-hot 'buns' and encourages students to 'Bake your buns at BIC.'

The student newsletter published an editorial describing the recruitment flier as 'tawdry, despicable and loathsome.'

The editorial criticized the administration for allowing the advertisement to be published, claiming it negatively represents female students and casts the college in a poor light.