We Disagree with School’s Censorship

Graphic by Kai ’13

This past May, The UltraViolet published a feature examining the differences between how Marlborough and one Catholic school in LA teach sex-ed. This other school encourages students to remain abstinent or advises using the pulling out or rhythm methods as contraception, policies that are representative of and consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Over the summer, the article reached the other school and created turmoil within their community, especially among teachers and parents. Although the Marlborough administration agreed that our article was entirely factual and well-researched, this public discussion of how the other school’s students are not being taught how to use condoms led some in their community to believe our reporting was a malicious, unfairly biased attack. In response, the School asked The UV to take the article off of our website to preserve the congenial relationship between our two schools. We resisted the request, but the School made the final decision for us and we had to take the article down.

We respectfully disagree with this decision. While we understand that maintaining our friendship with this other school is important, being forced to take down an entirely truthful article because our honesty stepped on some toes and generated a frank discussion goes against our ethics as journalists. Journalism seeks to spread the truth and shine a light on differences of opinion in the hopes of fostering discussion and

creating change. Our article did just that. We feel that the article’s truth made it all the more important that it remain on our website to be read.

In addition, we feel that if people can no longer read the article, they will be all the more likely to misconstrue or spread rumors about its contents. Taking the article down also implies that we did not represent the truth. Therefore, we worry that people who hear word of these events will assume that we did something wrong in the reporting process, but the School’s administration agrees that we did not do anything wrong.

Furthermore, being forced to take down the article sets a dangerous precedent. It goes against our values to take down an honest, balanced article simply because we are putting personal relationships above integrity. We feel that it is our responsibility to stand by what we have reported on, even if some people are unhappy with it, and we hope that the administration will not put us in this situation again.

4 Comments on "We Disagree with School’s Censorship"

  1. catholicviolet | October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    1) I guess in this scenario Marlborough DOES support pulling out….
    As a school that aims to create strong independent women, its rather pathetic when the administration succumbs to peer pressure and basically assists in attacking the integrity of its own students. Where is the honor in that? I always thought Marlborough was a place for educating self-sufficent young women with strong convictions….thats awkward. Just remember ladies; honor, integrity, and free thinking are only important as long as everyone agrees with you.
    2) If you are going to go to such extreme lengths to avoid naming the catholic school in question you should probably change the graphics title….

  2. For you to write an article that is misguided and to discuss a school and misrepresent it is terrible journalism. It is horrible to think that a school that charges their students over $30,000 for an “education” allows poor journalism with inaccurate quotes and inaccurate observations about a school. By all means, please show where this “unnamed” private school states these beliefs. For this to become a proper newspaper, it must have proper journalism with unaltered quotes and correct information. Until then, this is merely a blog written by a group of teenage children who have nothing better to do than create rumors without repercussion by their administration. Pathetic.

    • Christina '14 | April 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm |

      We hold ourselves to an extremely high standard of journalistic integrity, and contest your assertions that any of the quotes or information in our article was inaccurate. The original article encompassed multiple perspectives, quoted students and faculty at the school, and frequently referenced experts in these areas, including John McClune, the Secondary School Supervisor of Catholic Schools under the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He directly addressed your concern regarding the school’s statement of their beliefs, confirming that Catholic schools in Los Angeles did not support the promotion of contraceptives in sexual education classes. We wish that we could refer you to the original article, because it does not seem as though you are remembering it correctly, but unfortunately, we are unable to do so due to administrative censorship, which is the only evidence that we are not a professional newspaper.
      Thomas Hudnut, the recently retired president and CEO of Harvard Westlake High School, said to the LA Times, “It has been said that the responsibility of the press is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” We believe that both our original article and our response to our administration’s censorship followed this prerogative as well as our publication’s mission statement: to produce a quality publication that addresses issues of importance to the Marlborough community, sparks interest among and informs its readers; demonstrates ethical, fair, and objective news reporting; and represents a range of opinions.

      -Christina ‘14, Public Editor

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