Principal's hands-off approach to student journalism offers deeper lessons
- Mike Havener, principal of Kirkwood High School in suburban St. Louis, advocates for a hands-off approach by administrators when it comes to previewing student journalism prior to publication or broadcast.
- Havener says that allowing the publication or broadcast of stories that could be seen as controversial or inappropriate at the high school level — as long as the content is not hateful or hurtful — offers students valuable lessons on the First Amendment, District Administration reports.
- According to Indiana High School Press Association Director Diana Hadley, the approach also offers deeper lessons on journalism, communication and leadership.
In an age in which experiential and vocational learning are increasingly valued, Havener's approach is especially timely. Allowing students to operate as they would at an actual news organization gives them first-hand experience and a better sense of whether they may be interested in that field further down the line, in addition to a more expansive understanding of the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedom, which carries limits when it comes to things like hateful or malicious content.
Schools could also take this a step further by partnering with publications in their community to pair students with mentors. Such partnerships have long been part of the STEM education conversation, but could also serve creative fields well.
- District Administration Refrain from censoring journalism in schools, let learning blossom
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter