In a small town in New Hampshire, everyone’s talking about the “sex issue” of the high school newspaper.
HAMPTON, N.H. (AP) — Some parents are protesting the “sex” edition of the student newspaper at Winnacunnet High School. Several said they were especially offended by a photograph of two women kissing under the headline, “Why men love women who love women,” a quiz question about anal sex, and an interview with an unnamed custodian who said he had found a vibrator in the girls’ shower.
The newspaper’s faculty advisor said the issue was meant to be informative. The principal, who doesn’t review the paper before publication, took unknown “private” action and “pulled copies of the paper that normally would have been sent to middle schools.”
On Critical Mass, Erin O’Connor thinks parents are “aiming their shock in the wrong direction.
There is something peculiar about parents objecting to students seeing a publication created by students, especially when that publication simply acknowledges what the students are already thinking and doing. The problem here — if there is one — is not a smutty newpaper, but the sexual precocity of kids who live in a culture that eroticizes absolutely everything, including children.
When my daughter was co-editor of her high school newspaper, the sex survey was fairly tame but some parents objected strongly to a news story about teens dealing drugs across the street from the school. I thought the stories — include an interview with a local police officer — were informative. The complainers didn’t want to acknowledge an unpleasant reality.
Admittedly, high school editors aren’t always good judges of how to cover a controversial issue. Some faculty advisors provide too little guidance, but it’s more common for advisors to do too much.