Sex and the student press

©2009 Ellen J Austin

It’s the end of Valentine’s Day season, always a great chance for student publications to find themselves in the cross hairs for talking about SEX. Randy teen incautious sex; sex-positive safe sex; the sex of non-sex and abstinence; sex that results in pregnancy; “regular” versus “non vanilla” versions.

Want to double up on the cross hairs on this topic? Mention LGBTQ organizations on campus somewhere in the same edition.

And for some reason,  talking about sex often leads to discussion of another teen fascination: talking about drugs and alcohol.

I’m living in the land of California Educational Code 48907, which colleagues from other states often mention (with a sigh and look of despair) when they talk about why Hazelwood isn’t a factor here in California. You would think “censorship” or administrative actions against publications just doesn’t happen here in the land of milk and honey.

Au contraire, Pierre.

Funny thing about RIGHTS. Having them doesn’t always mean they are honored and upheld.

My colleague Paul Kandell alerted me last night about what’s happening at the school district next door to ours, literally about 5 miles or less down the road. The student paper has published articles about sex and sexuality, and it’s led to a brouhaha with the parents and the school authorities.

Here is a link to what’s happening.

He and I have co-signed a letter of response which is posted on the community paper’s website, and members of JEANC are reaching out to the publication’s adviser already.

For those who are about to kick off Scholastic Journalism Week, you might want to add in a “What do you think?” session about what is happening in our neighborhood here in California.

More to come on this topic from me, Paul, JEANC, etc as we know more…

BTW, can I add that Chaucer, that lovely canonical man of literary legend, mentioned St. Valentine’s Day in one of his texts because it’s supposedly the day on which birds begin their mating season.

I told my seniors this wonderful piece of trivia on Thursday, along with the suggestion that they avert their eyes from the tree branches as they walked home in the afternoon.

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