Home

Search
select medium:

search for:

Advanced Search

Participate

login
set preferences and edit your own posts

announce events
add to the radicalendar

info library
how to use this site
contact info
mailing lists
meetings
mission statement
supporting the imc


Media Centers
www.indymedia.org

africa
ambazonia
nigeria
south africa

canada
alberta
hamilton
maritimes
montreal
ontario
ottawa
quebec
thunder bay
vancouver
victoria
windsor

europe
athens
austria
barcelona
belgium
bristol
cyprus
euskal herria
finland
germany
ireland
italy
madrid
netherlands
nice
norway
poland
portugal
prague
russia
sweden
switzerland
thessaloniki
united kingdom

latin america
argentina
bolivia
brasil
chiapas
chile
colombia
ecuador
mexico
peru
qollasuyu
rosario
tijuana
uruguay

pacific
adelaide
aotearoa
brisbane
jakarta
melbourne
sydney

south asia
india
mumbai

united states
arizona
atlanta
austin
baltimore
boston
buffalo
central florida
chicago
danbury, ct
dc
eugene
hawaii
houston
idaho
ithaca
la
madison
maine
michigan
milwaukee
minneapolis/st. paul
new jersey
new mexico
north carolina
ny capital
nyc
philadelphia
pittsburgh
portland
richmond
rochester
rocky mountain
san diego
san francisco bay area
santa cruz, ca
seattle
st louis
tallahassee-red hills
urbana-champaign
utah
vermont
western mass

west asia
israel
palestine

[process]
discussion
fbi/legal updates
indymedia faq
mailing lists
process & imc docs
tech
volunteer

[projects]
climate
print
radio
satellite tv
video

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software
Kansas City IMC    Help us take back the media! Next kcindymedia meeting: Tuesday May 13, 7 PM, Crave Cafe
home | features | newswire | media gallery | the otherpress | picturebooks | calendar | links | info |
link to the other press | post an article | upload media |
Add a new Article | Comment on this article | Email this Article | Printable version |
 
Hidden with code "Submitted as Feature"
Commentary: Children & Education
Several students from Lee's Summit North in Missouri have created an underground newspaper. This is the story of how they got started.
Tired of not being able to voice our opinions as much as we wanted, our staff decided that publishing an underground paper was the thing to do. From day one we started gathering information and research about our legal rights as high school students. We browsed endless internet articles on what to do. We set out determined to get things done. Our staff knew that eventually our paper would be out there for the rest of our school to see. Putting the paper together and writing articles turned out to be the easy part in the whole masquerade of events that were to come. I don't think that any of us knew how much time and how many phone calls it would take to finally get our way.
Our first e-mail to the principal was, of course, inconclusive. He thanked us for asking him permission, but declined to grant us the go ahead to distribute. After talking to our lawyers at the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) we soon realized that it would be tough to beat the prior review issue that Missouri makes legal. At that point in time, we felt that getting our paper out was more important than fighting the prior review issue. The day after we received our first e-mail from the principal, we placed a copy of The Mirror in his mail box without being seen. He again declined to grant us permission, using the Board of Education's policy as a reason to withhold permission. Other excuses included his worries about the war, the tightening of the school budget, and all of the other discipline problems at Lee's Summit North. He encouraged us to join a club at school; to this day we do not understand how that would help publish our paper. Maybe he thought we just wanted something to do. Our principal did not seem to know all of the policies or he would have known that in the school board's policy, distribution of underground papers is specifically addressed. Fed up with him, our staff decided to appeal his decision to the Superintendent. In the letter to the Superintendant, we stated that we had talked to lawyers and knew that it was legal for us to do this. We asked him for permission to distribute. Before the Superintendent could answer, we received an e-mail from our principal. We figured, or hoped, the Superintendent must have talked to him. If he did talk to him, I wish I could've been there to see his face when he found out that the superintendent knew what was going on. The e-mail from our principal retracted his previous denials as he graciously invited us to come to his office and talk to him. It was clear he just wanted to know who we were. He also advised us to review the school board's policy; he was even nice enough to give us the link to it online. By this time we couldn't help but laugh. Maybe he didn't realize that he was the one that didn't know the policy; we had seen it the previous week.
Later that day we got an e-mail from the Assistant Superintendant. The Superintendant didn't seem to have the time to deal with us so he gave the job to his assistant. She basically sent us detailed instructions to finding the policy on the school board's site and told us to talk to our principal, not them. She also thanked us and said that everyone respected us for going through with protocol. It was nice to have the reassurance that our principal, the Superintendant, and his assistant weren't mad that we were causing such a disruption. That was the last time we heard from central office. It was now between The Mirror Staff and the principal, including some help from the SPLC.
The next few e-mails between our staff and our principal were pretty much the same. The principal asked us to give him our names a few more times. Then when he realized that wasn't going to happen, he asked for a contact. We politely sent him contact information. We chose a nice older friend of ours that was already graduated from high school. For some reason administration didn't like our choice and told us to pick again. This time it had to be either a student or staff member at LSN. He wanted someone to blame things on if something went wrong. After talking to our lawyers, we figured out that in Missouri, we couldn't beat this either. The contact person we chose was a student at North. He would now be responsible for all problems with the paper and for meeting with the principal.
The first meeting between our contact, who wasn't a member of our staff, and the principal was short. Just long enough for them to schedule another appointment the following week. It turned out that the principal was conveniently flying out to Chicago for awhile. The Friday after their second meeting, everything was scheduled. Administration gave us rules for distribution. We could give them to teachers, with the teacher’s permission, and then the teachers would make the paper available for their students. We were also allowed to make signs and place a stack in the commons (our cafeteria). At first we were not too happy with this. We still do not believe it is fair that we can't hand them out to students before school while other clubs and orgs. are allowed to. He claimed that he didn't want the custodians to have to pick up papers that were thrown on the ground if students did not want them. It's too bad he didn't have faith that students would like it enough to keep it, but oh well; everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. We decided not to fight it since he did give us permission to give them to teachers, which other clubs do not do.
Distribution began on Monday morning. The papers in the commons did not last long. It appears that some of the students at our school are disrespectful and tore the signs up. We don't know exactly what happened to all the copies that were there; either people took them, or one person threw them all away. Giving the papers to teachers turned out to be the best way to distribute. We sincerely thank all of the teachers that willingly gave out the papers to their students.
Although you can sum up the total process in this short article, the whole process took over a month. We made countless calls to the SPLC and thank them very much for helping us through. We could not have done it without them. We still remain anonymous to administration, but I'm sure that they would love to know who we are. It's amazing how close we feel to the principal while he doesn't even know who we are. He can walk down the halls at school and look directly at us without knowing how much of a pain we really are to him. The time spent with the underground paper was well worth it. It is a sense of accomplishment to see how we were able to get what we wanted and stay within legal boundaries. I wouldn't ever trade the experience of telling administration that we had lawyers for anything. It is a very nice feeling; try it sometime. It would be fun to know what the principal thinks about the whole thing. You could kind of see hints of desperation for us to give up throughout the e-mails. You could tell he didn't know what to do occasionally, too. I would have to say that I was disappointed in how he had typos consistently in the e-mails. He also addressed us as "folks" often. Maybe that was a way to make us feel like friends. How special. We took the time to professionally type everything out; too bad he couldn't have done that as well, maybe next time.

***note: We do realize that our principal was doing his job. We do not blame the hardships completely on him at all. This in no way is meant as a comment against him. In fact, we thank him for eventually allowing us to distribute and for being as agreeable as he could. Thank you.***


Add a quick comment

Your name
Your email Validate email (Strongly encouraged)
Title

Comment

Text Format
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.