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  • Friday, July 10, 2009


    Censorship again becomes a national story in OUSD

    Metro VIEWS
    A community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    Giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities

    Orange High School Principal S.K. Johnson becomes new King of Censorship
    Censorship again becomes a national story in OUSD

    An editorial by Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    It seems that some educated people never learn. Americans love the First Amendment and hate censorship. Yes, this is true even of young Americans as witnessed by the Greater Orange Communities newest bout of censorship. Unfortunately, educational administrators in Orange Unified continue to seem not to understand that basic American foundations taught in their schools on censorship, nor understand the lessons of history regarding censorship.

    OUSD continues to have administrators make a big deal over little things that become BIG news and keep a story alive much longer than if they just ignored it, thus creating an even bigger problem. Former Orange Unified School Superintendent Dr. Godley learned that lesson the hard way when he censored the public broadcasts of the goings on at OUSD School Meetings concerning statements from former OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco and angry exchanges toward Rocco from other Board members. The transcripts and photo’s of the censored exchanges were then e-cast by Orange Net News and became a local sensation, as did Godley’s continued local censorship. Without the Godley censorship, those Rocco exchanges just would be forgotten with most of his other rantings.

    Apparently, at least one more OUSD administrator did not learned the lesson from that and other OUSD PR nightmares. Orange High School Principal S.K. Johnson found himself becoming a national lighting rod for free speech and student advocacy groups. Principal S.K. Johnson, who has done much to re-build the Orange High School image on many levels in his productive years as Principal, but now he has led his school onto the national radar screen as a bastion of censorship, and brought attention to the schools “gang” fears that he was trying to downplay. Plus, he was forced into a situation no good leader ever wants to be in, he had to publicly reverse a controversial very public decision.

    If you missed the story in the newspapers (because of all the “King of Pop” coverage), on the blogs, or seeing the story on television, Johnson confiscated the end of the year Orange High School journalism magazine called PULP. In the ensuing story his reasons seemed as clear as an explanation from Sahara Palin.

    The story was first reported by the Orange County Register, on Monday June 29th, the article stated that Principal S.K. Johnson confiscated the magazine after deciding the tattoo on the cover was "gang-looking" and an article inside was inappropriate. The Register story of course features a picture of the offending cover for all to see and quotes Johnson as commenting "It was not an easy decision. But we have an image of our school that I want to uphold. I don't think that (cover) was promoting what we want to promote at our school." The article also reports that "Johnson also took issue with the magazine's list of 10 things seniors should do before they graduate. It included cutting school to go to the beach and sneaking in a swim at the school pool – "clothing optional."

    Reportedly, the students offered to tear the offending list out of the magazine in order to gain permission to distribute the magazine. The offer was reportedly rebuked by Principal S.K. Johnson. Until now.

    After the national attention Johnson is quoted in the Orange County Register July 7th article titled Orange High’s principal offers to release mag if a controversial list is removed as stating. Johnson in this article states “I still believe the cover is inappropriate, I also believe in freedom and the First Amendment, and I can’t take away that right. … (But) I cannot allow something that suggests skipping school.” So… a week later the “gang cover” (which can now thanks to Johnson can be found on the internet) is OK, but the top ten ”skip town list” satire, which now has made the rounds of all in-the-know-Panthers, are now well know (probably by heart) and the solution to tear them out Johnson makes is proposing the same solution originally offered by the students, taking the noe well know list out of the magazine, plus eliminating those pesky spelling and grammar mistakes in future issues.

    Orange Superintendent Renae Drier has repeatedly stated “Knowledge is power”. Yet we continue to wonder how could knowledgeable people handle their power differently? Simple, if they would of let the magazine be distributed (all 300 copies) and like most end of the year school stuff, a few laughs, then most would be filed and forgotten in the “round file”. Then during school next year ( out of the national limelight) make sure the problems were addressed that led to the concern. Instead, Principal S.K. Johnson has fathered a national story that will forever be linked to Orange High School in search engines world-wide.

    From the El Modena High School, GLSEN club, to the Rocco Censorship, to Orange High School’s Pulp Magazine, Orange Unified administrators and leaders continue to learn the lessons of censorship the hard way. A high school education in history shows that since the invention of the printing press censorship has failed, from the Reformation, to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, to Tiananmen Square and now the Iranian election protests, the lesson is clear: Censorship does not work. Instead censorship just focuses attention like a laser beam on the thing you want people not to see. Not a bad lesson for a high school principal to learn.

    So now the OUSD Crown of Censorship can be handed off once again, first from former OUSD Trustee Marty Jacobson to former Superintendent Dr. Godley, and now from Godley to OUSD Principal S.K. Johnson the new OUSD King of Censorship.

    All hail the King!

    So OUSD, who’s next?

    For more information on the censorship just Google and choose from the hundreds of thousands of hits. (Welcome to the Internet Mr. Johnson).

    For the Orange High School Pulp Magazine now WORLD FAMOUS Tattoo Cover CLICK ON: PULP TATTOO COVER

    Opinions expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the opinion of the networks that post it.
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