If Scott D. Thomson of the National Association of Secondary School Principals is as unaware of the proclivity toward censorship demonstrated by public school officials as his letter Feb. 29 indicates, I would suggest that he might want to attend any conference of high school journalists and journalism advisers or, better yet, subscribe to our magazine, the Student Press Law Center Report. There he could read a sampling of the more than 600 calls we receive each year from student journalists and their advisers asking for legal advice and assistance and describing the constant burden of censorship by school officials.
In Collinsville, Ill., a student editor was suspended from his position after he ran an editorial critical of a proposed student conduct code that would have required students to pledge to follow certain moral standards concerning alcohol and drug use in their private lives. In Arlington, Va., students on the yearbook staff were told by the school principal that they could not print the results of a survey they conducted on teen alcohol use. In protest of that decision, other students began distributing leaflets on the First Amendment and a free press and were prohibited by the principal from further such distributions.
I agree with Mr. Thomson: there are many good high school principals who will not begin censoring student publications just because the Supreme Court says they can get away with it. But unfortunately, the growing number of their less enlightened colleagues tarnish the image of the entire profession.
MARK GOODMAN Executive Director, Student Press Law Center Washington