OCHSA Censorship Draws Bay Area Push Back

Fiddling while Orange County High School of the Arts administrators burn.
Fiddling while Orange County High School of the Arts administrators burn.

A Bay Area lawmaker is standing up for high school journalists in Santa Ana.

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was scheduled to introduce legislation to the Senate judiciary committee today that would explicitly bar charter school administrators from unlawful attempts at censoring student newspapers.

Yee said he was introducing SB 438 in response to Orange County High School of the Arts' insistence that administrators broke no laws when they halted printing of the student newspaper in September over objections to its content, according to an Orange County Register report, because the laws apply to public schools, not charter schools.

The new bill from Yee, who authored two of California's student free-speech laws, would close the loophole the Santa Ana administrators used to justify delaying publication of the student paper Evolution by more than a week.

California Education Code Section 48907 would be amended to read, "Pupils of the public schools, including charter schools, shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press, including, but not limited to ... the distribution of printed materials or petitions."

"Students in California, and throughout the country, have a fundamental right to free expression," Yee said in a statement. "It is quite disheartening to hear that taxpayer-funded charter schools think their students do not deserve the same rights as those afforded to students at public and private schools throughout our state."

Them's your taxpayer dollars at work at OCHSA, people.

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