Krystal Meyers is the editor of the school newspaper at Lenoir City High. She recently wrote a piece entitled "No Rights: The Life of an Atheist" but the school refused to publish it because it might cause disruption in the school.
Imagine that…a news piece that might provoke thought, self-examination and shed light on discrimination in the school system. What’s the matter with her? Doesn’t she know she should only write about subjects that cause no reaction whatsoever?
So what did this honor student, captain of the swim team, 18 year old editor of her newspaper say in her article that might disrupt the school?
You can read the full article here. However, here are some highlights:
There are several instances where my rights as a non-believer, and the rights of anyone other than a Christian, have been violated. These instances inspired me to investigate the laws concerning the separation of church and state, and I learned some interesting things. However, first, I would like you to know specifically what my grievances are against the school. First and foremost is the sectarian prayer that occurs at graduation every year.
And further down:
Public prayer also occurs at all of the home football games using the public address system. This has, again, been covered by the Supreme Court case
Not only are religious preferences shown through shirts, but also through a “Quote of the Day” that some teachers write on the boards in their classrooms. One teacher has Bible verses occasionally as the teacher’s “Quote of the Day” for students. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been violated, yet again with no regard for non-believers.
But perhaps I would have more hope in our school and the possibility of change on the horizon if our own school board did not open their meetings with prayer. A person who wished to remain anonymous that has been present at school board meetings says, “They do have prayers. They pray to ‘Our Heavenly Father’ and end with ‘In Jesus’ Name We Pray.’” Not only is this a violation of Supreme Court law, but also a violation of the board’s own policy that prohibits prayer at school-sponsored events. The whole foundation of how our school is conducted is established by obvious Christians. Somehow, this is unsurprising. If our School Board chooses to ignore the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Supreme Court, then it is no surprise that teachers choose to do the same.
If you read the entire article, you’ll see she was very fair in her assessment. She didn’t take any cheap shots or use trash talk to get her point across. She wrote a very clear, concise news piece that might actually benefit her school in many ways. Perhaps a teacher who is doing these things might read it and examine their practices and change. Maybe it would have raised awareness in the school and other students might realize that what their teachers are doing is illegal. It might have provoked discussion among the staff or highlighted the discriminatory practices that happen on a daily basis.
In my opinion, these are the types of students we should be proud of. She tackled a subject that is likely going to cause her to be targeted and discriminated against even more. She’s obviously intelligent and outgoing.
So what did the school have to say about it?
Lenoir City school authorities have denied Myers permission to publish her editorial in the Panther Press, the staff supervised student newspaper.
They also say their policies do not violate the constitutional rights of any students.
Schools Director Wayne Miller said it was the decision of the school authorities not to allow publication of Myers' editorial because of the potential for disruption in the school.
"We do have the right to control the content of the school paper if we feel it is in the best interest of the students," he said.
School administrators do have the right to control information distributed to students if publication would cause a disruption in the school, confirmed Dr. Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington D.C.
Information that might not be appropriate for general distribution to students, including that of a religious or sexual nature, can still be discussed in Lenoir City High School under the proper circumstances, Miller said.
Sounds to me like he’s scared that his school will be exposed for breaking the law - that’s the real disruption he’s talking about here.
There is no reason in the world why her editorial should have been blocked from being published - no good reason anyways. It fairly highlights concerns she has with school practices and It was not hateful or angry in any way.
This school should be ashamed of itself. The school should put a stop to these discriminating practices and they should publicly apologize to Krystal as well as publish her article. If they fail to do so, hopefully one of the secular organizations like the ACLU or Freedom from Religion Foundation will look into it and file a lawsuit.
You can also visit their website by following the link and send an email protesting this stupidity if you want.