The internet news buzz continues to grow about the Wentzville School District and the ongoing issues of censorship and parental communication...
Kalen Ponche of the Suburban Journals - a subsidiary of the St. Louis Post Dispatch - wrote a followup article highlighting the continued frustration felt by parents and students alike. Of interest in the article is the comments made by the current Wentzville School Board President Dale Schaper.
First, Board President Dale Shaper stated that they "simply followed district policy" in only allowing 15 minutes to speak. What he fails to say is that nowhere in the policy does it state that public comments are limited to 15 minutes. Instead, the policy states:
5. Due to the possible number of speakers during the public forum, the Board President may limit or extend the speaking time.Since Board President Dale Schaper had the perogitive to adjust the speaking time, I want to make sure that it is perfectly clear that the 15 minute limitation was his personal decision.
Board President Dale Schaper also stated that parents and students can "request a spot on the agenda in the future. The request must be made in writing five days before the meeting." Unfortunately, this again illustrates that the issue has no importance to the Wentzville School Board, since they don't deem it necessary to proactively address it by adding it to the agenda themselves.
Lastly, board member David Hurst added yet another example of the Wentzville School District Administration being out of touch with their own policies. Mr. Hurst stated that "he didn't know all the details about what was not allowed to go into the newspaper or yearbook." However, per the Wentzville School District Student Publication policy...
The building principal shall forward the statement and copies of the article to the Superintendent and the Board of Education for their information.Obviously, this never occured, or Mr. Hurst and the rest of the Wentzville School Board would be better informed on what was going on.
A letter was sent to the Wentzville School Board and Administration from the Society of Professional Journalists. According to their website, the SPJ is a "broad-based, national journalism organization founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi. SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press."
The letter condemns the Wentzville School District for allowing censorship, and illustrates the damage they have done in allowing it to persist.
And finally, one of my favorites...
Frank LoMonte, the Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center, posted a scathing editorial on the latest activities of the Wentzville School District. Mr. LoMonte's blog entry, dated March 29th, does an excellent job of highlighting the irony of the Wentzville School administration practices.
And on a final note.... Please read the "Call To Action" notice on the left, and remember to vote next Tuesday, April 6th! Change happens... but only if you want it to happen!