VISTA, Calif. (CN) – The principal of Fallbrook High School shut down the award-winning school newspaper and canceled the school’s only journalism class after the faculty adviser complained to a school board member about King’s censorship of a student editorial criticizing the school’s abstinence-only sex education policy, six students and ex-students and the teacher say in Federal Court.
Plaintiff David Evans says Principal Rod King forced him to spike the newspaper’s December 2007 editorial because King said he was “uncomfortable” with its criticism of the Bush administration’s sex education policy.
Evans says he asked the school board president, Bill O’Connor, to help him reduce censorship of the paper at a June retirement luncheon.
The next day, Evans says, King and Assistant Principal Nicole Miller told him they were shutting down “The Tomahawk” and canceling Fallbrook’s only journalism class. Evans says King scolded Evans for talking with O’Connor, accusing him of “doing an end run.”
Evans says King also censored a November 2007 article criticizing former school Superintendent Tom Anthony, who allegedly refused to shut down Fallbrook High School so the school could be used as an evacuation center during the wildfires of October 2007.
Evans says that under his sponsorship “The Tomahawk” placed second in a national contest sponsored by the American Scholastic Press Association.
The plaintiffs want the paper and the journalism class brought back to life, and costs. They are represented by Jean-Paul Jassy with Bostwick & Jassy and by David Blair-Loy with the ACLU.