Administrators at a San Diego high school were sued for killing two student-written items for alleged inaccuracies, the San Diego News-Tribune reported Monday. One story in Fallbrook High's Tomahawk newspaper concerned the buyout of the district superintendent's contract and the other was an editorial about sex education classes.
The lawsuit charged the school administrators' worry about the articles did not entitle them to censor the items and doing so violated state law protecting student free speech, the newspaper said.
Five students, the ACLU and the Student Press Law Center brought the suit in November 2008.
As part of the settlement, the district agreed students may publish articles with disputed material even if administrators "(have) concerns about the content of the articles," the newspaper said.
Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said the decision will have far-reaching effect.
"School attorneys are regularly advising their clients to go ahead and censor the newspaper because the risk of adverse consequences is remote," he said. "The Fallbrook case is a two-by-four between their eyes, telling them the consequences are potentially great. … (it is) a cautionary tale to other school districts about the consequences of overreaching."
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