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Sex article gets high school newspaper pulled

By The Associated Press

WELLINGTON, Fla. — A high school principal pulled copies of the student newspaper because she believed a column about sex and virginity would be disruptive, particularly as students prepare to take the FCAT standardized exam.

Junior Amanda Escamilla's opinion piece appears inside the paper under the headline "Let's talk about sex." Escamilla said she decided to write about virginity and students' varying views on how sacred it is after reading magazine articles, watching a television show on the topic and hearing her friends talk about it.

Escamilla's article suggests that students think twice before having sex, but Wellington High School Principal Cheryl Alligood said that message doesn't come until the last line, and many won't read that far.

"I serve students from ultraconservative families and ultraliberal families," Alligood said. "I have to walk the middle of the road. I also expect we have kids in ninth grade whose maturity level isn't ready to handle this."

For this edition, the newspaper staff sold $650 worth of ads to pay for printing and had 3,000 copies made with their teacher's approval. Alligood said it is teacher Kristi Gibbins' first year overseeing the paper and that the story should never have been printed. The principal offered the students half the cost to reprint pages.

"We're supposed to be able to write about what we want to write about," Escamilla said. "They can censor us if it's going to cause rioting or injure our school."

School board rules say just that, and Alligood believes the article would be disruptive, especially the week before students tackle the reading, math and science sections of the FCAT.

The article will likely be replaced with an ad.


Why we need a strong student press

By Gene Policinski Will adults empowered with prior restraint ultimately be more responsible than students following good journalistic standards? 02.11.07

K-12 newspapers & yearbooks

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