Pemberton columnist prevails at The Stinger

GSSPA Staff

By JOHN TAGLIARENI

The Pemberton High School newspaper, The Stinger, has published the revised column that was held back by school administrators during the winter. It appears that  pressure from all sides made an impact in the newspaper’s efforts to fight censorship.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines censorship as "the act of examining in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines censorship as “the act of examining in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable.”

South Jersey Magazine will feature the censored students in its June issue, which will include photos of the students involved in the case, according to Bill Gurden, the adviser of The Stinger.

It started in December when Kylie Sposato submitted a column about student smoking in the school bathrooms for publication in The Stinger. It was part of her journalism class’s unit on opinion writing,

The piece included interviews with a school security guard, research about the health effects of secondhand smoke and a perspective from a classmate, along with her own criticism of the behavior.

Staff member Samantha Gregory also learned that her story about the departure of the district’s athletic director, scheduled for the same December edition, had been edited to remove two important final lines: one that said the director declined comment and another noting that the district hadn’t yet named a replacement.

The Student Press Law Center supported Sposato’s case, as did the local professional press and student press associations.

The Law Center reports that Pemberton High School Principal Ida Smith has been “honored” in the censorship case. The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has cited her with one if its 2014 Jefferson Muzzles. It is the annual award for those who “forgot or disregarded Mr. Jefferson’s admonition that freedom of speech ‘cannot be limited without being lost.’”