California High School Paper Wins Free Speech Fight To Publish Student Sex Worker Profile

2 years ago



NBC News reports about a situation that happened at a Central California high school. An article about a student, 18, who works in the porn industry has been posted in a school newspaper. The California school district officials demanded to approve the article prior to publication and got accused of the censorship attempts by the paper's adviser. The Typical Student team learned the details. 


The Original Story 




Despite censorship attempts, the story called "Risky business: starting a career in the adult entertainment industry" did go into print in the Bruin Voice, the Creek High School paper. The article tells a story of student Caitlin Fink, who sells nude photos of herself and is a member of an erotic video website. As told by NBC News, Caitlin has "signed a contract with a porn agency and aspires to be a stripper." Ms Fink commented on the whole situation, saying it's her chosen profession:  "I'm 18, what I'm doing is legal, and I don't see why everyone is making such a big deal out of it." 


Is The Teacher Right? 




After the district officials demanded to review and approve the article before publication, they were accused of censorship by English teacher Kathi Duffel. Afterward, the district Superintendent warned the educator of possible discipline, "up to and including dismissal" in the event she refused on free speech grounds. According to Matthew Cate, who represents both Duffel and the student author of the article, "the story didn't violate education codes."


Why District "Does Not Endorse" The Article

Paul Gant, a lawyer for the district, informed Cate Wednesday saying the district wouldn't prohibit the publication of the story. Still, Duffel was called "insubordinate for refusing to submit the article for review." This, reportedly, became the reason for "not endorsing" by the district officials: "Because we are charged with the education and care of our community's children, we will always be diligent in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment for all students, while complying with our obligations under the law."

Ms Duffel has encountered censorship attempts in her nearly three-decade teaching career. In 2013, the principal at the time confiscated 1,700 copies of The Bruin Voice newspaper when students "exposed inaccuracies in the school safety handbook."

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