Home > IHSPA News > Memories Of Hazelwood And A Principal Who Cared

Memories Of Hazelwood And A Principal Who Cared

Diana Hadley

Diana Hadley

In what some may categorize as another episode of  “Remembering the olden days with Diana Hadley,” I want to describe the day the Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier case was announced 25 years ago this week.

My principal, my newspaper editor and I all read about the Hazelwood decision in the morning paper. (Morning newspapers sometimes had breaking news in the last century.)

My newspaper editor decided to wear black mourning clothes to school that day to make a fashion statement about her opinion of the decision. My principal was at the sign-in counter when I arrived. He mentioned the Hazelwood article and then asked when the next production night was scheduled.

When I told him it was Tuesday and asked if he planned to be there, he said, “No, you can tell your kids it is business as usual around here.”

Sharing that great news with the editor was a momentary damper on her great black clothes protest, but we all breathed that sigh of relief that comes from working in a positive environment.

Not everyone was as lucky as we were, and I have learned that many administrators have realized our fears and used Hazelwood as the opportunity to take more control of the content of student publications.  The good news is that many have not, and 25 years later that is what we can actually celebrate: the fact that given the opportunity to stifle student voice, many administrators still support student publications.

IHSPA recognized my principal, Bill Overholser, with a special award for his support of high school publications. He shares that honor with 15 other Indiana administrators who have continued to value student expression despite the temptation to embrace Hazelwood when student coverage is uncomfortable for them.

At the 2012 fall convention, IHSPA recognized two of those administrators: Patricia Flowers, Connersville High School Principal, and Jeff Butts, Wayne Township Superintendent. Thanks again to them and all administrators who believe that “business as usual” at their high school should include strong, independent publications staffs.

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Categories: IHSPA News
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