Hazelwood Silencing their Students

If an article for a school newspaper that would help students is deemed “too controversial,” the school should have  no right to refuse to publish it. In the 1988 landmark Supreme Court case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, the school violated Kuhlmeier’s First Amendment right, which illustrates this injustice towards students’ freedom of speech in school systems. 


In the case, Cathy Kuhlmeier produced articles about teen pregnancy, abortion, and divorce for her school newspaper. Her writings all pertained to the school regarding topics numerous students faced. However, these pieces couldn’t be read due to the school’s attempt to “protect” their student body by making the newspaper delete them. But should stripping students of their First Amendment and right of expression be permitted? The Supreme Court allowed the administrators to censor the newspaper in Hazelwood, but should not have. Journalism at Triton is an example of how schools should treat their writers. Journalism is offered to juniors and seniors, though the paper is displayed to all grades; these students want to write about mature topics rather than just school spirit and local activity. Junior Sofia Savino is an example of a high school journalist who can write about contentious issues. Earlier this year, Savino published an article in the Triton Voice, Triton’s school newspaper, about abortion laws. With abortion being an intense matter with so many varying views, it is important to inform students. Sofia says, “ I think that we shouldn’t censor Highschool Newspapers, it’s for the students, and it should be written by students and what they chose.” 


The Hazelwood District claimed articles such as Sofia’s to be unsuitable for a school newspaper, and they held  the school had a right to reject offensive writings. This point is valid, and the school is entitled not to publish offensive articles spreading hate. Nonetheless, both Sofia and Cathy’s reports had no harmful intent to affect students negatively. Though writing about these topics can be difficult , it enlightens students on issues that transpire in society. 


Cathy Kuhlmeier’s freedom of speech was taken from her by her school. It was unjust for the Hazelwood District to strip her of her rights and blind students from present and significant matters in their world. When students are given a voice by their school, they should express their passions and inform their peers on subjects they see substantial.

Image represents the stripping of Freedom of Speech through writing.