GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — The student editor of a high school news magazine says
district officials censored stories about abortion.
Zane McMillin, editor of The Comets' Tale at Grand Ledge High School, said
administrators removed telephone numbers for Planned Parenthood and other
agencies that provide information about pregnancy alternatives, and rewrote a
summary of state law regarding parental consent.
About 1,000 copies of the revised magazine were set to be published this
"No matter what they say, it is censorship," McMillin told the Lansing State
Journal for a May 2 story.
But the school's principal, Richard Pochert, said district policy gave
administrators control and supervision over the magazine. He said state law
barred schools from even remotely making abortion referrals, and that the
district could lose 5% of its state funding if it broke the law.
One of the magazine stories focuses on a Grand Ledge student who regretted
having an abortion; another story involves a girl who continued going to school
after giving birth.
Pochert said officials changed the language about Michigan's abortion law
because a student-written summary was inaccurate.
"There's a difference between censorship and compliance with Michigan's
school code and Michigan law," Pochert said.
Steve Krumm, a spokesman for the district, said a letter about the
controversy was mailed to parents on May 1.
A national expert on student publishing said Grand Ledge administrators could
be interpreting their authority too broadly.
"It gets a little bit complicated, but school officials certainly don't have
unlimited authority to censor anything they want," said Mike Hiestand, an
attorney for the Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center.