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Student journalists resist muzzling

After failing to find common ground with administrators, Unionville High's student newspaper has gone underground after a conflict over an article published in the March edition.

Based on audience response at Monday's Unionville-Chadds Ford school board meeting, the staff of the student newspaper has support in its quest to avoid being censured.

Surrounded by staff members, Indian Post editor Laura Booth read a statement protesting a decision to put the newspaper under "prior review," which means that the administration would have to approve content in advance. She received loud applause.

The conflict arose when the paper printed a story in the March issue about an unidentified student who had been removed from the high school by police for allegedly stealing a school laptop. Booth said the story was based on information from an assistant principal and the district's code of conduct. "Is it possible that we should simply have ignored the most newsworthy event to occur in the school ...?" she asked.

After the staffers learned of the "prior review" decision, a policy that may have been in place but not previously enforced, they attempted to set up a meeting with Supt. Sharon Parker; when those efforts failed, they began work on "The Outpost," an underground publication due soon, Booth said.

Parker, who had met with the students earlier Monday, thanked them for their "directness" and said she looked forward to another meeting in hopes of "creating a policy fair to all." Stay tuned...