When student reporters asked why a popular teacher and debate coach wasn’t being rehired, San Gabriel High School principal Jim Schofield tried to kill the story, suggesting a fluffy profile instead, reports Reason.
Jennifer Kim, the award-winning journalism teacher and newspaper adviser, backed her students’ right to publish. She’s been placed on administrative leave, “barred from speaking to her students and prohibited from coming on campus without an escort while the district conducts a retroactive investigation into her conduct,” reports the Pasadena Star-News.
The suspension came Aug. 10, a week after Kim discussed California’s free-speech protections for student journalists and advisors with the new principal, Debbie Stone, at yearbook camp.
Matador staffers say a math teacher has taken over Kim’s job. Meanwhile, the newspaper’s online site is down.
The Alhambra Unified school board passed a free-speech policy earlier this month, following “months of demonstrations held by student journalists alleging censorship, bullying and a lack of transparency in the district,” reports the Star-News.
The board’s new policy, “Freedom of Speech/Expression, School-Sponsored Publications,” borrowed some clauses from California Education Code 48907, a state law that governs free speech on high school campuses, while still omitting others.
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, a nationwide advocacy organization for student journalists and their advisers, filed a complaint with the district on Tuesday about the policy, saying it “falls short of the requirements of California law and should be revised to become fully compliant.”
Among other things, the policy does not recognize the state law’s ban on retaliation against journalism advisers.
A protest web site called Defy Silence Under Alliance is calling for Kim’s reinstatement.