Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Censorship and Rights at Summit

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Censorship and Rights at Summit

Article excerpt

PISCATAWAY -- The decision to pull an article from the Northern Highlands Regional High School newspaper was used to highlight a growing trend of censorship Monday at a gathering of student journalists from across the state.

The keynote event, "Press Rights, No Fear," at the Garden State Scholastic Press Association's 35th annual Fall Press Day on Rutgers University's Busch Campus included two student panelists -- for the first time.

"We're putting them out in center for you ... because of the work that they did in terms of fighting for their rights when their articles were censored at their schools," said John Tagliareni, the moderator and a retired adviser for Bergenfield High School's student paper.

Student press censorship is a growing problem, experts say.

"Where we had gone for years with getting very few calls, in the past year and a half we've had several significant incidences -- some in which the advisers were either ousted or forced to resign in order to not compromise their principles," said Susan Everett, treasurer for the scholastic press group.

Among them was the censorship of an article by Adelina Colaku, the former editor of the Highland Fling at Northern Highlands.

Colaku, one of the two student panelists, spoke about her three- month legal battle with the administration to get published a story detailing a rift within the administration. A revised version of her story was eventually published.

"When you think of ... authority figures -- who are meant to be responsible and reinforce the rights that you have -- students don't expect that they would violate them," said Colaku, who now attends Bard College. "So I think many students are shocked to hear this and I'm glad I can bring it to light and ... hopefully they can do something as well if this is occurring in their school system."

The other student panelist, Kylie Sposato, now a freshman at Rowan University, wrote a column at Pemberton Township High School lamenting smoking in the girls' bathroom. …

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