Student Webmaster wins $30,000 settlement

(2/5/98) In Nazi Germany, they burned books. In America, they’re burning magazines. A NY school official recently pulled magazines such as Seventeen and YM from its library shelves. The official disapproved of reader questions, which focused on condom use in hot tubs and how to check for pregnancy.

“We have a right and an obligation as educators to protect the children from sexual material that we deem to be age-inappropriate,” said Paul Lochner, the Hauppage schools superintendent. “At this age, children get mixed messages in what we are teaching on one hand and what the magazine is teaching on the other.”

This is a blatant case of censorship. The school official disapproves of sex and he doesn’t want students to have the opportunity to read about the topic. His action proves that all schools should be private. Then students and their parents could decide whether they will pay for schools with magazines such as Seventeen.

Right now, since the government forces everyone to pay for its schools, many families cannot afford to pay for additional tuition at private schools. They are forced to endure the cultural censorship of the government. If we lived in a Libertarian society without taxes, families could choose their own schools.

Because of the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, the public schools cannot censor most books and magazines. The ACLU is already studying the issue to determine if they will sue the school. The ACLU recently stopped Internet censorship by threatening to sue a California school which installed Internet filter software on its computers. The school subsequently took off the software.

If your school will not subscribe to magazines, which discuss sex, or if your school has installed software such as CyberWatch on your libraries computers, then contact the ACLU and ask them to sue your school. You must be the first line of defense against censorship. History has proven that first sexual materials are banned and then even Shakepeare’s plays become criminal.

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