Suppression of the press runs far deeper than the national political corps. Just look at hyper local high school football coverage.
An article that found fault with the Har-Ber football program in the home high school newspaper led to the sudden suspension of that newspaper … and a full-blown controversy in Arkansas.
Here’s what happened, in a nutshell:
The student-run Har-Ber Herald was suspended from publishing after an investigative article highlighting troubling transfer acceptances of football players ran in the newspaper’s November 30 edition. The newspaper piece found that five players in the program had gained immediate eligibility after filing for an academic transfer, then questioned why that decision was set.
The Herald received FOIA documents from the Arkansas Activities Association showing the parents of the five players had requested their children be allowed to play football as they transferred schools for academic purposes.
But several of the football players told the Herald in on-the-record interview months earlier that they transferred schools to play football.
“We just want to go over there because we have a better chance of getting scholarships and playing at D1,” one of the students who transferred told the student publication.
“I just feel like it’s better for my future to go out there and get college looks,” another student told student reporter.
After the story was forcibly taken off the newspaper’s website, their teacher adviser argued to have it re-posted. That request was rejected by the Springdale Schools Superintendent Jim Rollins, on the rather specious claim that it was, it was “intentionally negative, demeaning, derogatory, hurtful and potentially harmful to the students addressed in those articles.”
If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because they are awfully similar to attacks against freedom of the press being lobbed in more high profile areas.
The story remains down … for now, but the paper’s staff still plans on publishing a new edition Friday. The lead story? The censorship of the paper by the Springdale school district.