Censored Student Paper Gets Journalism Award

FREE PRESSFallbrook High School’s Tomahawk student newspaper, which was twice censored and had its journalism class eliminated, received the Tom Adler High School Journalism Award
during the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego Chapter
awards banquet June 25, reports the Fallbrook-Bonsall Village News.

“What this award represents is the importance of student
journalists having the right to exercise their rights under the First
Amendment and the California Ed Code,” said former Fallbrook High
School journalism advisor Dave Evans, who was one of the recipients of
the award. “We’re very proud and honored to receive the Tom Adler
Award. At the same time we’re disappointed that the events that gave
rise to this award ever occurred and we’re very hopeful that the
district will come to terms and we can get this thing settled.”

Evans, along with five former and current students, have
filed suit against the Fallbrook Union High School District, principal
Rod King, and anyone else responsible for the curtailment of Tomahawk
articles and the journalism class itself (the suit reserves the right
to amend the fictitious “Does 1 through 25” defendant names with actual
names should responsibility be ascertained) in response to three


November 2007 Chantal Ariosta, then a Fallbrook High School senior and
now a Palomar College student, wrote an article on a supposed lack of
cooperation by then-superintendent Tom Anthony in response to the
October 2007 Rice Fire. The article indicated that Anthony refused to comply with
a request from the fire marshal to close the school for use as an
evacuation center. Prior to the publication of the December 2007 Tomahawk, Evans presented King with a draft issue for the school’s review. King told Evans to remove the article in its entirety.


The “Senior Sendoff” Tomahawk issue published in May 2008
originally included an editorial by Daniela Rogulj and Margaret Dupes
which was critical of the Bush Administration’s abstinence-only sex
education policy. The editorial referenced a school assembly earlier in the academic year which promoted the abstinence-only policy. When the draft Tomahawk issue was sent to King for his review, the editorial was ordered removed.


A day after Evans expressed his concerns to Fallbrook
Union High School District board chair Bill O’Connor during a
retirement luncheon in June 2008, King informed Evans that the
journalism class was being cancelled and that Evans was being removed
as the journalism advisor.


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